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Pfizer launches lupus study with 23andMe

Aims to enroll 5,000 patients into new geneticresearch study

23andMe Pfizer lupus

Pfizer has begun recruiting patients into the lupus study it is running with online personalised genetics company 23andMe.

The companies, which will also work with the Lupus Research Institute, aim to enroll 5,000 individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus, with patient recruitment expected to be completed by mid-2016.

Belen Carrillo-Rivas, head of research and development innovation projects, BioTherapeutics Research & Development, Pfizer, said: "Pfizer is committed to bringing forward new treatments for patients suffering from lupus.

"By enhancing our understanding of the underlying biology of the disease, we hope to better support our clinical research activities and development programmes."

The study will look to uncover possible underlying genetic causes of lupus, specifically those associated with the onset, progression, severity and response to treatments for lupus.

Margaret Dowd, president and CEO of non-profit organisation the Lupus Research Institute, said: "Lupus is an unpredictable and devastating disease for which the treatments can be as debilitating as the disease itself.

“Research on human genetics has enormous potential to deliver information that can help improve lupus treatment. The more insights that researchers can gain, the faster safer drugs can be developed.”

In addition to genetic information and survey questions, 23andMe will also incorporate data from participants' medical records, with their consent, into the study.

This data will then be used in the analysis of longitudinal surveys with participants over the course of a year.

Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and co-founder, said: "The ability to effectively personalise treatments for lupus patients is limited, due in large part to our incomplete understanding of the disease. We hope to change that by studying human genetics alongside environmental and health history factors to ultimately help inform better treatment options for lupus patients."

The study forms the first concrete output from 23andMe's lupus collaboration with Pfizer. Signed in January, this added to the partners' existing research agreement in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Meanwhile, 23andMe added Genentech to its list of pharma partners at the start of this year, forging a research pact to focuses on generating whole genome sequencing data for about 3,000 people with Parkinson's disease.

18th May 2015

From: Research

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