The world’s first lupus prevention study, the SMILE clinical trial, was launched recently in the US.
SMILE will identify people who are at a high risk of developing lupus and treat them with an immune-modifying drug to determine whether this will prevent or delay lupus developing.
The drug being used for this study is hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug. As well as exploring whether this drug delays or prevents lupus, the research team will determine if it improves disease activity and patient outcomes.
The trial will include people aged between 15 and 45 who are at high risk of developing lupus. They will be treated with either a placebo or hydroxychloroquine and then monitored for a period of time.
This study is taking place across five sites across the US – Penn State Hershey Medical Centre, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre and the Medical University of South Carolina. Researchers aim to recruit 240 patients and the trial is likely to be completed in 2022.
This is an important study for the black community as black women are three to four times more likely to develop lupus than their white counterparts. Additionally black women develop lupus at a younger age, experience more severe symptoms and overall develop more complications. Having a treatment that prevents lupus will significantly reduce the suffering of many black women worldwide and we thus look forward to the trial’s conclusions in a few years’ time.
For more information about the trial you can download the SMILE brochure below or email Virginia-Roberts@omrf.org