Monash welcomes Janssen to lupus research collaboration

Professor Eric Morand

Professor Eric Morand

Outcomes for lupus patients will continue to improve as a result of a new collaborator joining the Monash lupus research group at the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS).

The global biopharmaceutical company Janssen Research & Development, LLC (Janssen) will participate in the Lupus Low Disease Activity State (LLDAS) Study, an international, multi-centre study investigating whether attaining LLDAS is associated with improved outcomes in patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).

Janssen joins existing collaborators, UCB Biopharma SPRL and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to fund research led by Professor Eric Morand, Head of SCS and Head of Rheumatology at Monash Health, to develop and validate treatment targets in lupus.

“Our research will validate for the first time a treatment target in lupus,” said Professor Morand.  

In the Monash-led study by the Asia Pacific Lupus Collaboration (APLC), investigators have devised a new way to simply measure responses to treatment in lupus.

“This funding will support the APLC validation of this method, and when validated, we expect our treatment target will be used in clinical trials and in clinical practice to drive better outcomes for patients,” added Professor Morand.

Since recruiting their first patient more than two years ago, the LLDAS study has recently achieved their first milestone—1873 patients have been enrolled and their baseline data has been collected, cleaned and analysed. 

The research team is now focussed on achieving their next milestone, collecting the longitudinal data of this same cohort of patients.

Professor Morand said that this study will create one of the largest data sets on lupus patients ever collected.

“This data has a huge number of other potential uses in research that will be of interest to academics, clinicians, patients, government and industry,” he added.

The first stage of this important research study was published this week in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, the leading journal in the field of rheumatology.