Novel therapeutic agents for systemic lupus erythematosus

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The last significant breakthrough in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) was the use of cyclophosphamide and methylprednisolone in the treatment of lupus nephritis. Recent advances in immunology, oncology, and endocrinology have resulted in many potential therapies for SLE. These therapies include new immunosuppressants, biologic medications, tolerizing agents, immunoablation techniques, and hormonal medications. Each of these approaches will be discussed in this review. Some therapies are currently in use in clinical rheumatology practice (mycophenolate mofetil) and others are entering phase I trials (anti-BLyS monoclonal antibody). While some of these new therapies target specific inflammatory mechanisms in SLE (anti-CD40L monoclonal antibody), others work by nonspecific inhibition of the immune system (immunoablation).

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