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The Search for a Better Way to Protect Your Kidneys

We understand how systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) profoundly impacts the lives of those it touches, affecting your overall health, daily experiences, and well-being. It can manifest in various organs, and its impact on kidney health is particularly significant.

Lupus nephritis (LN) is one of the severe complications of lupus. It not only exacerbates the systemic challenges posed by lupus but can also lead to long-term kidney impairment, making the quest for effective treatment even more urgent.

The medical community’s ongoing research and clinical studies illuminate a path forward in protecting your kidney health when you live with lupus.

What Is Lupus Nephritis?

LN occurs when SLE targets the kidneys, leading to inflammation and potentially significant kidney damage, including permanent damage. You might experience symptoms like swelling, protein in the urine, or high blood pressure. Sometimes, it can silently progress, especially in the early stages of LN.

LN symptoms are unpredictable, and their impact on daily functioning can be a significant source of stress and uncertainty. Moreover, the risk of progressing to end-stage renal disease, necessitating dialysis or kidney transplantation, can feel alarming.

Diagnosis of LN typically involves a kidney biopsy and serological tests to determine the type of nephritis and its severity.

Current Treatment Options

Treatment aims to reduce inflammation, decrease immune system activity, and prevent the immune cells from attacking the kidneys. This involves a combination of medications tailored to your needs, including:

  • Corticosteroids: Often the first line of defense, helping to reduce inflammation quickly. However, long-term use can have side effects, and it may take time to find the proper dosage.
  • Immunosuppressives: Medications like mycophenolate, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and voclosporin help suppress your immune system, preventing further inflammation.
  • Blood pressure medications: Medications like ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta-blockers, diuretics, and calcium channel blockers help manage blood pressure, which can exacerbate kidney damage.
  • Treatment for associated conditions: LN can be accompanied by other issues like blood clots, for which additional medications may be prescribed.

The treatment journey for LN often involves finding a delicate balance of managing the disease effectively while minimizing side effects.

Challenges With Current Treatment Options for Lupus Nephritis

Managing LN with current treatment options presents significant challenges beyond mere medical management. These treatments, while essential, often bring a range of side effects.

Corticosteroids, for instance, can cause weight gain and mood swings, and immunosuppressives may increase infection risks. It can be stressful to balance the effectiveness of these medications with their impact on quality of life. Additionally, for some, the disease progresses despite treatment, leading to the distressing possibility of kidney failure and the need for more intensive interventions like dialysis or transplantation.

Beyond the physical implications, the emotional and financial burdens of ongoing LN management are considerable. The cost of continuous treatment, including medication and frequent medical appointments, can be overwhelming, adding to the emotional strain of coping with a chronic condition. Adherence to complex treatment regimens is another hurdle, compounded by the individual variability in treatment response. These challenges highlight the necessity for continued research into more effective and less burdensome treatments for LN, aiming to enhance the lives of those living with this condition.

Emerging Treatments

A variety of innovative therapies are undergoing clinical studies. These include monoclonal antibodies targeting specific immune pathways and small molecule drugs such as voclosporin. Additionally, groundbreaking approaches like gene therapy and CAR T-cell treatments are being explored. Many trials also investigate combination therapies, pairing new drugs with existing treatments to enhance effectiveness and reduce side effects.

One such development is the SANCTUARY Study, a clinical study focused on evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a new treatment.

What Is the Alexion SANCTUARY Study?

The SANCTUARY Study is a clinical research study recruiting adults diagnosed with LN. It aims to assess the efficacy of an intravenous (IV) study treatment, ravulizumab (ALXN1210), compared to a placebo. Ravulizumab is already FDA-approved for other indications and has a known safety profile, which adds to its potential as a viable treatment option for LN.

Participants in the SANCTUARY Study will be randomly assigned to receive either the study treatment or a placebo. This study utilizes a 2:1 randomization design, meaning that participants are twice as likely to receive the study treatment than the placebo. All participants, regardless of their group, will continue to receive the standard of care for LN.

The standard of care in this context refers to the accepted and widely used treatment regimen for LN, which may include medications like mycophenolate and corticosteroids. The study treatment and placebo are administered through IV infusion.

Reasons to Participate

  • Higher likelihood of receiving treatment: The study’s 2:1 randomization design means participants are twice as likely to receive the study treatment rather than a placebo.
  • Safety profile: Ravulizumab’s established safety record for renal diseases is another advantage.
  • Limited visits: The study has only 12 required on-site visits.
  • Targeted drug therapy: Offers a more focused approach than general immunosuppressives, reducing side effects and complications associated with broader immunosuppressive treatments.
  • Rescue therapy options: Participants can use additional therapies like belimumab or voclosporin if needed.
  • Supportive care: Assistance from a patient travel vendor and home health care support for necessary procedures are available.

While LN can be a challenging condition, the evolving treatment landscape offers new hope. The SANCTUARY Study represents a significant step toward seeking more effective and patient-friendly treatments.

If you or someone you know is living with LN and interested in exploring this innovative treatment option, you can find more information about the SANCTUARY Study — including eligibility criteria and how to participate — through the study’s dedicated website.

Your involvement could be a key to unlocking a better way to protect your kidneys and improve the lives of many facing this condition.

Join the search for a better way to protect your kidneys.

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