Lupus Research Alliance Announces Published Data Showing Effective Approach to Drug Repositioning

Crowd-sourcing, Literature Review and Big Data Analysis Identify Promising Lupus Treatments

NEW YORK, NY –- New results published in the professional journal Lupus demonstrate the effectiveness of an innovative system developed to identify promising treatments for lupus among existing drugs approved for use in other diseases. Funded by the Lupus Research Alliance and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, the study used Big Data to confirm selection of potential treatments identified by analyzing data on over 1,000 drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and eliciting broad feedback via internet crowd-sourcing.

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Pilot study with UVa to explore more ways to tackle lupus

“A pilot study at UVa Research Park will explore the science behind the old saying “mind over matter.”

A local company called AMPEL Biosolutions is teaming up with the University of Virginia to examine the effects of contemplative practices — such as meditation — on lupus patients.

The idea of combining contemplative practices with modern medicine isn’t new. Doctors know reducing emotional stress promotes general wellbeing and aids in physical recovery. But the collaborative study between AMPEL and UVa’s Contemplative Sciences Center will examine the physiological effects of such practices — which could have far-reaching implications for the medical field. …

The drought has AMPEL Biosolutions, which specializes in lupus research, looking for answers in many different places. The firm is also behind a massive drug repositioning project — that is, a study of how existing drugs (used to treat other conditions) could be useful for treating lupus.

The company is trying a more conventional approach, as well, searching for useful targets in the body that could, down the road, be exploited by a drug.

The multi-pronged approach is necessary because lupus affects so many parts of the body, manifests in a wide variety of symptoms and is affected by many different genes, said Dr. Amrie Grammer, scientific director at AMPEL Biosolutions.” …

Pilot study with UVa to explore more ways to tackle lupus
– by DEREK QUIZON (Published in the Daily Progress)

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Dr. George C. Tsokos Receives Lupus Insight Prize at FOCIS 2015 from Dr. Peter Lipsky

George C. Tsokos, M.D., Chief of the Rheumatology Division at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, received the 2015 Lupus Insight Prize today for a project with great promise in improving treatment for lupus nephritis. The award was presented at FOCIS 2015, the 15th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.

The Lupus Insight Prize is a collaborative initiative among the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI). The $200,000 Prize recognizes a major, novel insight and/or discovery that has the promise of changing thinking about lupus as well as a high likelihood of generating further advances in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

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LRxL-STAT’s Top Scoring Biologic Ustekinumab: ALR is Working on A Clinical Trial with Janssen

The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) is pleased to announce it is working with Janssen Research & Development, LLC (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, on a clinical study to evaluate ustekinumab (Stelara®) for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus). Ustekinumab received the highest score in the biologic category of the LRxL-STAT Lupus Drug Repositioning Initiative and will be studied in a Phase 2 lupus clinical study ( that will begin recruiting later this year.

The ALR, in partnership with the Lupus Research Institute and Drs. Peter Lipsky and Amrie Grammer of AMPEL BioSolutions, developed the new LRxL-STAT project ( to repurpose therapies currently approved for other indications and evaluate the effectiveness of such treatments in lupus. After scrutinizing hundreds of potential treatments using the CoLT (Combined Lupus Treatment) scoring system, the ALR and Drs. Lipsky and Grammer identified ustekinumab as a promising biologic candidate. The CoLT scoring system is an evidence-based analysis used on potential lupus therapies that incorporates scientific rationale, pre-clinical/clinical experience, drug properties and safety data. Ustekinumab is approved in the U.S. for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis. The ALR established the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN,, which is comprised of nearly 50 academic lupus centers representing all geographic regions of the U.S., some of whom will participate in the planned clinical trial of ustekinumab, as well as in the evaluation of other potential lupus treatments in close consultation with lupus advocacy organizations.

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To Save Lives, Save Virginia Jobs

A new trade deal could have a big impact on Virginia’s economy.

Imagine a future free of allergic reactions, lupus and cancer. Virginia scientists are already working to make this a reality: Two Virginia Bioinformatics Institute researchers have created software that predicts allergens; Charlottesville-based AMPEL Biosolutions is pioneering a potential treatment for the chronic autoimmune disease lupus; and Manassas-based MicroVAX has just begun clinical testing on a vaccine for cancer. Virginia’s biotechnology sector is literally saving lives.

It’s also improving the day-to-day lives of thousands of commonwealth citizens in the form of high-skill, well-paying work. In 2011 the Virginia biopharmaceutical sector supported nearly $8 billion in economic output and provided more than 10,700 jobs.

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