SLE is an autoimmune disease capable of causing severe tissue damage in many organs. The cause of SLE is unknown, but recent research has identified infection-fighting proteins called interferons (or IFNs) which are made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites or tumor cells. IFNs allow for communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.
We finally get to ask that question about lupus, after the FDA approved Benlysta, the first new drug approved for SLE in over 50 years, in March 2011.
Patients and researchers alike are asking questions … Who needs to take this drug? How is it different from the medicines that doctors were already using? How do we know it’s going to work? How do we know that it’s going to work better than those other medications?