AstraZeneca’s TULIP trials highlight role of interferon in lupus

A recent post hoc analysis from AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) found that the monoclonal antibody anifrolumab (Saphnelo) led to consistent improvements in skin rash and arthritis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is the most common lupus type. A pooled analysis of the Phase 3 TULIP-1 and TULIP-2 clinical trials investigating anifrolumab showed the drug led to a sustained reduction in SLE symptoms based on the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG)–based Composite Lupus Assessment (BICLA).

Anifrolumab binds to the type I interferon receptor subunit 1 and blocks all type I interferons.

If approved, anifrolumab would be a first-in-class lupus treatment. Researchers have known for decades that inflammation-causing signaling proteins known as interferons were involved in lupus. It was, however, unclear whether inhibiting interferons would provide relief to lupus patients. The TULIP clinical trial series, which draws its name from an acronym of …

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