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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Drug Repositioning in SLE: Crowd-sourcing, Literature-mining and Big Data Analysis

  • August 8, 2016
  • News


Drug Repositioning in SLE: Crowd-sourcing, Literature-mining, and Big Data Analysis

AC Grammer, MM Ryals, SE Heuer, RD Robl, S Madamanchi, LS Davis, B Lauwerys, MD Catalina, and PE Lipsky

Lupus patients are in need of modern drugs to treat specific manifestations of their disease effectively and safely. In the past half century, only one new treatment has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In 2014–2015, the FDA approved 71 new drugs, only one of which targeted a rheumatic disease and none of which was approved for use in SLE. Repositioning/repurposing drugs approved for other diseases using multiple approaches is one possible means to find new treatment options for lupus patients. ‘‘Big Data’’ analysis approaches this challenge from an unbiased standpoint whereas literature mining and crowd sourcing for candidates assessed by the CoLTs (Combined Lupus Treatment Scoring) system provide a hypothesis-based approach to rank potential therapeutic candidates for possible clinical application. Both approaches mitigate risk since the candidates assessed have largely been extensively tested in clinical trials for other indications. The usefulness of a multi-pronged approach to drug repositioning in lupus is highlighted by orthogonal confirmation of hypothesis-based drug repositioning predictions by ‘‘Big Data’’ analysis of differentially expressed genes from lupus patient samples. The goal is to identify novel therapies that have the potential to affect disease processes specifically. Involvement of SLE patients and the scientists that study this disease in thinking about new drugs that may be effective in lupus though crowd-sourcing sites such as LRxL-STAT ( is important in stimulating the momentum needed to test these novel drug targets for efficacy in lupus rapidly in small, proof-of-concept trials conducted by LuCIN, the Lupus Clinical Investigators Network ( Lupus (2016) 25, 1150–1170

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FOCIS 2016, Boston

This week, during FOCIS 2016, Amrie Grammer, PhD will give a presentation on the identification of novel drug targets for repositioning in Lupus, in addition to Ampel having two posters at the conference. For more information on FOCIS 2016 visit

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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