Lupus nephritis is inflammation of the kidney that is caused by systemic lupus erythematous (SLE). Also called lupus, SLE is an autoimmune disease. With lupus, the body's immune system targets its own body tissues. Lupus nephritis happens when lupus involves the kidneys. A preliminary analysis of the safety data did not reveal any new or unexpected safety signals in patients receiving Rituxan.
We identified 34,339 individuals with SLE (prevalence 143.7 per 100,000) and 7,388 (21.5%) with LN (prevalence 30.9 per 100,000). SLE prevalence was 6 times higher among women, nearly double in African American compared to white women, and highest in the US South. LN prevalence was higher among all racial/ethnic minority groups compared to whites. The areas with lowest SES had the highest prevalence; areas with the fewest ACR rheumatologists had the lowest prevalence.
Lupus nephritis is treated with medications that suppress the immune system, so it stops attacking and damaging the kidneys. Standard treatment includes a corticosteroid, usually prednisone, to reduce inflammation in the kidneys. An immunosuppressive medication, such as cyclophosphamide or mycophenolate mofetil, is typically used with prednisone. These medications—when taken as prescribed by a health care provider—further decrease the activity of the immune system.
Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA) and Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB) announced that a Phase III study of Rituxan® (rituximab) plus mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and corticosteroids in patients with lupus nephritis did not meet its primary endpoint of significantly reducing disease activity at 52 weeks. The primary endpoint evaluated improvements in kidney response as measured by standard laboratory tests used to assess kidney health.