BSR-2015-165Lupus: a disease where the body attacks itself.

In the month that saw the arrival of World Lupus Day, the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) strongly welcomes the recent decision by NICE to recommend Belimumab be available as a treatment option for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).

Lupus is a disabling and life threatening autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks and damages healthy tissues and organs throughout the body. This recommendation will enable people living with lupus to access this new treatment, if they have active disease that has not been controlled by other medications.

In response to this announcement, BSR President, Dr Peter Lanyon added:

“Belimumab is a biologic drug which specifically targets the underlying problems in the immune system that occur in Lupus. It’s a major breakthrough and the first new licensed drug for this condition in over 50 years. We also welcome the recommendation that whenever this new treatment is given, data is also collected into the BILAG BR research registry. This model of collecting real-life information in people receiving biologic drugs has been pioneered by the BSR in conjunction with the whole rheumatology community.”

Ian Bruce, Professor of Rheumatology at The University of Manchester, who leads this research registry for Lupus echoed this by commenting:

“This recommendation by NICE will enable additional data collection throughout England and Wales on the pattern of use of Belimumab and its effectiveness and safety in a real world setting. As a result, we will be able to provide information that the NHS needs to enable it to make the right long-term decisions about access to both Belimumab and other new drugs in the future. It’s a prime example of how integrating research with routine clinical care allows the NHS to continue to learn more about new treatments so that we can obtain the best outcomes for Lupus patients”

This announcement comes in the same week that BSR launched its report ‘A collaborative approach to improving outcomes in Rare Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal disease’, outlining a programme of work to improve care for people with rare inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as Lupus. Recommendations include enhancing condition knowledge across all health professionals, developing national audits for rare conditions and improving the data available to the NHS through disease registries and specific coding. This report is available to download as a PDF at http://www.rheumatology.org.uk/includes/documents/cm_docs/2016/b/bsr_rare_conditions_report.pdf

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