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Lupus Foundation of America New Three-Year Grant Supports Research to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes in Women with Lupus

The Lupus Foundation of America announces a new three-year grant, funded by the Festa Family Foundation, supporting the IMPACT study (IMprove Pregnancy in APS with Certolizumab Therapy), the first trial of a biologic therapy to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes in high-risk pregnancies in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) with or without systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). HSS rheumatologist Jane E. Salmon, MD is the lead investigator.

Nine out of 10 people with lupus are women and the disease typically develops during childbearing years, which can make reproductive health an important topic for many women with lupus. A specific autoantibody (lupus anticoagulant, LAC, a type of APS), which can be detected in the blood in the first trimester, is linked to a 10-fold increase in risk of complications. Treatments are needed for women living with lupus and APS who are at risk of pre-term birth, poor placental development and preeclampsia. These complications, which can also lead to inadequate nutrition and oxygenation of the developing fetus, can cause 10-20 percent of pregnant women with SLE to deliver at 24-28 weeks.

The IMPACT study has the potential to provide a new approach to protecting pregnancies for people with lupus and countless other women at risk for these complications. The treatment being studied, certolizumab which blocks TNFα – a key inflammatory mediator in inflamed placenta, is being evaluated and has the potential to be the first biologic that may help prevent these pregnancy complications, enabling women to deliver healthy, full-term babies.

“Women with lupus are at higher risk for complications including preeclampsia, growth restricted babies and fetal death, which are manifestations of placental failure. And, currently, we don’t have good approaches to prevent these poor outcomes. With the support from the Lupus Foundation of America for our IMPACT study, we are conducting the first trial with a biologic therapy to prevent these pregnancy complications and hope to expand our understanding of why complications occur so people living with lupus can have safe, successful pregnancies,” cited Dr. Salmon.

Read the full press release at Lupus.org.