The 2018 pipeline of targeted therapies under clinical development for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: a systematic review of trials.
Currently, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) therapies range from antimalarials to glucocorticoids, in addition to immunosupressive agents or biologics such as rituximab or belimumab, when needed. Several unmet needs remain in the treatment SLE and more targeted drugs with improved safety profiles are expected. Based on recent advances in the understanding of the complex pathogenesis of SLE, several targeted treatments are currently assessed in clinical trials. In this study, we performed a systematic review of all targeted therapies under clinical development in SLE in 17 online registries of clinical trials. The search yielded a total of 1140 trials, from which we identified 74 targeted therapies for SLE. Those treatments target inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, or their receptors (n = 17), B cells or plasma cells (n = 17), intracellular signalling pathways (n = 10), T/B cells costimulation molecules (n = 8), interferons (n = 7), plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) (n = 3), as well as various other targets (n = 12). Not all these candidate drugs will reach phase III, but the broad spectrum of drugs being investigated may satisfy the urgent need for improved lupus medications. The identification of biomarkers that would allow adequate prediction of response-to-therapy remains high, but when solved will allow a more rationale selection of the optimal pharmacological agent at the patient level.