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Could We Be On the Verge of a New Drug to Treat Lupus?

Systemic lupus is the most common form of the autoimmune disease, lupus, which afflicts about 5 million people worldwide and causes a slew of symptoms including fever, pain and swelling. Now, sufferers of systemic lupus may be closer to a new drug to treat their symptoms, according to the results of a study announced yesterday. If approved to market, the drug, which was developed by Human Genome Sciences (HGS) and GlaxoSmithKline, would be the first new treatment approved for lupus in nearly half a century.

HGS and GlaxoSmithKline had already seen encouraging results with their drug, called Benlysta, in the first clinical trial of 860 patients that was completed in July of this year. The companies were waiting for the results of a second trial to file for approval from the Food and Drug Administration. HGS states on its Web site that it will file for approval in the first half of 2010.

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