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Researchers Test Belimumab in Scleroderma

The Rheumatologist featured a study by Jessica K. Gordon, MD, HSS rheumatologist, on the safety and efficacy of belimumab in patients with early diffuse systemic sclerosis. Findings indicated that there was not a significant difference in the number of adverse events between those treated with the drug and those who received a placebo.

There are currently no drugs approved specifically for the treatment of systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma.

Dr. Gordon explained that "there are similarities between scleroderma and lupus, including a significant role for B cells, so in this trial we investigated whether we could reappropriate a treatment that was already approved for lupus."

In the study, Dr. Gordon and her colleagues assessed the skin thickness of 20 patients after 52 weeks.

"The safety profile was reassuring… additional studies are needed to determine if belimumab has a role in the treatment of diffuse scleroderma," said Dr. Gordon.

"Although we've made really important strides in the understanding of systemic sclerosis, this condition continues to be a particularly difficult one to treat. The condition is rare and heterogeneous, so it can be challenging to study. Patients with systemic sclerosis urgently need improved therapies. That is a major motivation to look at novel medicines," she added.

Read the full article at the-rheumatologist.org.