Our discoveries

The BILAG BR study is providing an important source of data for research into lupus treatments.

Already, researchers have used data from the study to look at:

  • The short term effectiveness and safety of rituximab for patients whose lupus doesn’t respond well to other treatments.
  • Whether it is possible to predict which patients will respond well to treatment with rituximab, and which factors might contribute towards a patient responding well. This project has now finished and the researchers have produced formulae (algorithms) that aim to predict response better than in current standard of care. Following future research to validate the results, the ultimate goal is that care for SLE patients can be improved by putting them on the right drug, sooner. Read more here: https://sites.manchester.ac.uk/masterplans
  • The percentage of lupus patients who could potentially be eligible for treatment with the licenced biologic drug belimumab.
  • how patients with lupus starting a new treatment compare to those with lupus who enter clinical drug trials. (These trials determine the effectiveness and safety of new medications using tightly controlled conditions). The researchers found that only 37% of patients entering the BILAG BR would be eligible for recruitment to clinical drug trials based on criteria set out by drug companies for recruitment to these trials. Reasons for ineligibility include severe kidney involvement, use of restricted medications (such as high doses of steroid) or other co-existing illnesses such as previous cancer or chronic kidney disease. Lupus patients with higher number of co-existing illnesses such as heart and kidney disease were less likely to be eligible to participate. This highlights the importance of collecting data from the BILAG BR to show the effectiveness and safety of biologic therapies in a real world setting, particularly for patients with other health conditions. 

As the study continues, more data will become available for analysis, making the BILAG BR register even more useful for lupus researchers.

Our team of researchers are busy looking at all the information that has been collected in the study to see what they can find out about the safety of biologic therapies, and also about how well they work for people with SLE.

If you have any ideas about what you would like our researchers to look at please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Study updates will be provided in our participant newsletter

Participant Newsletter Spring 2019