“After the recent recognition of the value of belimumab in lupus nephritis, we have not stopped and are studying new solutions for those suffering from chronic renal failure anemia. With this rationale Gsk enters nephrology, we work to transfer cutting-edge scientific evidence into therapeutic perspectives for the unsatisfied needs of patients”, said Elisabetta Campagnoli, Specialty medical head of GSK Italia, on the occasion of World Kidney Day which is celebrated today, 9 March.
“Chronic renal insufficiency disease has a heavy impact on the well-being of around 700 million patients worldwide, around 4 million in Italy alone – adds Campagnoli -. As many as 100 million people with these conditions also develop anemia, resulting in increased morbidity, mortality and reduced quality of life. The current standards of care with agents that stimulate erythropoiesis (ESA), i.e. the production of red blood cells by the marrow, has made it possible to obtain significant results in this sense – he continues – unfortunately the drugs are still only available in injectable formulations , with evident impacts in terms of quality of life of patients and in the absence of therapeutic alternatives when they are no longer effective. For this we are working to make available alternative options that can reduce the burden on patients and give additional options”.
“The kidney – recalls the expert – is a noble organ, even if we often forget it. The alterations of its function have an impact on numerous activities of the organism, well beyond the simple role of excretory organ. Just think of the role of this organ in the control of blood pressure, metabolism, hemoglobin homeostasis and therefore of anemia linked to renal insufficiency. Precisely in this sector we are working to offer patients a higher quality of life and satisfy their unsatisfied needs”.
In this regard, in Italy, “we have already started collaborating with the main scientific societies in the nephrology field, such as the Sin (Italian Society of Nephrology) – underlines Campagnoli -. In this sense we have been carrying out projects for some time, just as we are starting to work in close contact with patient associations to fully understand their needs, fill unsatisfied ones and support them in creating awareness”, knowledge, “on a chronic pathology so important but underestimated, especially in its impact on the patient”.
The path in nephrology began some time ago for the company. “Our first step in this area – specifies Campagnoli – follows all the work done to extend the treatment of patients affected by SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus, ed) with lupus nephritis of the monoclonal antibody belimumab, which has been shown to be able to protect from severe renal complications. Belimumab, added to standard of care in the management of active lupus nephritis, leads to improved long-term outcomes for patients by increasing response rates to therapies and delaying further progression of kidney disease. Our commitment in nephrology – he continues – is part of this scientific path to find new therapeutic solutions for people suffering from anemia linked to renal insufficiency. As? Starting from the deepening of the mechanisms that regulate the oxygen levels in our cells”.
Innovating “means starting from cutting-edge science, to then transfer to patients what can really make a difference – Campagnoli reiterates – This is the philosophy of GSK’s agnostic approach to research. We aim to create a virtuous circle that starts from the analysis of the biological and molecular mechanisms of the disease, to then arrive at the identification of innovative therapeutic solutions capable of responding to the patient’s needs. This model – he adds – guides our research and development activity, focused on the science of the immune system, human genetics and advanced technologies, on the development of vaccines and drugs. We focus primarily on four therapeutic areas: infectious diseases, HIV, oncology and immunology. Our attention to the science of the immune system – he concludes – has helped us to develop biological drugs for immune-mediated conditions such as lupus, lupus nephritis, to expand in the future to rheumatoid arthritis and a number of other inflammatory diseases “.
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