Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Investigator Pursues Lupus Treatment Advances

Nov 13, 2019 | Anifrolumab, Autoimmune Disease, Lupus

Decade of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute Research Leads to Potential New Possible Way to Combat Lupus, HIV

Dr. Richard Furie, with Northwell Health’s The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, will publish and present data describing the clinical benefit of anifrolumab for patients with lupus in Lancet Rheumatology and at the American College of Rheumatology’s Annual Scientific Meeting.

The Lupus Problem: Little Therapy Progress

Lupus is an autoimmune diseases affecting 1.5 million Americans and causes the immune system to lose the ability to differentiate between foreign agents and healthy tissue. The immune system becomes hyperactive, attacking healthy tissue while causing inflammation and damage to joints, skin and internal organs. Despite rapid progress in immunology, most clinical trials aimed at discovering new lupus therapies has failed, with only one new drug having been approved in the last five decades.

What is Anifrolumab?

Anifrolumab is a monoclonal antibody designed for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It binds to the type I interferon receptor, blocking the activity of type 1 interferons such as interferon-α and interferon-β.

This drug was developed by MedImmune, a unit of AstraZeneca, which elected to progress anifrolumab instead of sifalumumab into Phase III trials for lupus in 2015

Treatment of Uncontrolled Lupus via the Interferon Pathway (TULIP)-1

Led by Dr. Furie, the TULIP-1 was a global Phase III study evaluating the efficacy and safety of intravenous (IV) anifrolumab versus placebo in adults with moderate to severe, autoantibody-positive SLE who were receiving standard-of-care treatment. While the primary endpoint was not attained, a post-hoc analyses suggested clinical benefit in those patients with severe rah or arthritis. A companion phase III study, TULIP-2, that achieve the primary end point was presented November 12.

Dr. Furie is hopeful that “the totality of the Phase 2 and 3 data will be looked upon favorably and provide the lupus community with an additional therapy.” 

Who is the Feinstein Institutes?

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York. Home to 50 research labs, 2,500 clinical research studies and 4,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes is raising the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We’re making breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine—a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we’re producing knowledge to cure disease, visit here.

Lead Research/Investigator

Dr. Richard Furie 

Call to Action: Follow Dr. Furie as he and the Feinstein Institutes pursue treatments for Lupus. Interested in contacting them—reach out to Matthew Libassi at 516-465-8325 or at mlibassi@northwell.edu.