Anifrolumab is currently in clinical development for the treatment of moderately to severely active, autoantibody-positive systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). SLE is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. Patients will often have periods where their symptoms flare-up and periods where their symptoms settle down. The exact causes of SLE are unknown but are believed to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. Recent evidence suggests that activation of the type I interferon (IFN) system which is a group of proteins involved in the regulation of the activity of the immune system may play a central role in development of SLE.
Anifrolumab is a drug designed to specifically block type I IFN signalling by binding to part of the type I IFN receptor and therefore preventing activity of all IFNs that are involved in the inflammatory pathway. If licensed, anifrolumab will offer an add-on treatment option for patients with moderately to severely active SLE.