LRA Pleased to Share News of Lupus Nephritis Clinical Trial Launch

October 1, 2019

The Lupus Research Alliance is pleased to share news about the launch of EQUALISE, a Phase 1b trial that will evaluate the safety and tolerability of an experimental compound itolizumab at various doses in a small group of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis. Sponsored by the biotechnology company Equillium, the trial will also evaluate the potential treatment’s effectiveness as well as its pharmacokinetics (how the drug moves within the body) and pharmacodynamics (how the drug works and effects the body).

The LRA is proud to have played an important role in the trial design and initiation, making sure that the patient perspective is well represented.  The organization reviewed educational materials about the trial and enlisted people living with lupus and/or lupus nephritis to also provide feedback.

“The initiation of the EQUALISE trial is a welcome advance toward testing a potential new treatment for this dangerous and common complication of lupus,” noted Lupus Research Alliance president and chief executive officer Kenneth M. Farber. “We commend Equillium for enlisting the lupus community in the development of educational materials about the trial as patients’ thorough understanding of the clinical research process is vital to participation.

The EQUALISE trial will also evaluate how well biomarkers in the urine can inform a patient selection approach.  The biomarker ALCAM was first identified in part by work conducted by Dr. Chandra Mohan that was funded by the Lupus Research Alliance. ALCAM is a small molecule on the outside of T cells of the immune system that helps the T cells move through the tissues of the body, including the kidney.

Dr. Mohan used ALCAM to identify lupus nephritis patients most likely to respond best to therapy, monitor the disease and guide treatment.  EQ001 blocks the ALCAM pathway that Dr. Mohan found.

Equillium announced that research results backing this strategy and data showing the validity of the Phase 1b trial will be presented at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in November 2019.