We are at a very exciting time for Sjögren’s! In fact, here at the Foundation, we believe we are at that tipping point where knowledge gained from research is finally leading to greater interest and progress in developing new therapies. With therapies poised in the next few years to come to market specifically for Sjögren’s for the first time ever, we will experience a substantial change in what we know about Sjögren’s and how patients’ lives can be improved for the better.
There are now thirteen (13) companies with twenty-one (21) potential systemic therapies, specifically for Sjögren’s, in clinical trial or getting ready to begin their clinical trial. This is an impressive commitment to patients because the companies must first believe that they have a scientific approach that can benefit Sjögren’s patients, and then they must commit to the process and investment for years to (hopefully) bring that therapy to market.
We are fortunate that so many companies are making that commitment to patients! We are also lucky that companies have therapies in the pipeline that address different biological pathways of the disease, which will allow options for the patient. Sjögren’s lives within each patient differently, so it is anticipated that some drugs will work better for some patients whereas a different drug that addresses a different pathway will work better for other patients.
Clinical Trials in Phase 2 and Phase 3
There are twenty-one (21) systemic therapies in clinical trial: eight (8) in Phase 1, ten (10) in Phase 2 and three (3) in or coming into Phase 3 in the new year. There are also thirty-three (33) trials occurring in different phases for dry eye and Ophthalmic solutions and devices. And two very interesting dry mouth therapies in trial. If you are not able or do not qualify for a systemic trial, perhaps a dry eye or dry mouth trial is a good option for you! Current Clinical Trials FDA Approvals: 0 systemic; 5 dry eye; 2 dry mouth; 1 ILD
A Significant Challenge
We need patients to call about the clinical trials listed on our website! With all of these clinical trials occurring at the same time, there is a challenge to get enough patients enrolled in each trial. Many of you have seen multiple emails from the Foundation announcing a trial or have seen our social media posts. These emails and posts are all different companies enrolling for different trials. So, each time we release an announcement for a trial, we urge you to look into that trial and see if there is a location near you enrolling. Clinical trial sites are generally located in major cities in the U.S., but even if you live a fair distance away, do call the nearest site as some companies are making accommodations for travel and are listening to what you might need in order to participate.
If you are curious about what it means to take part in a clinical trial, please call the nearest trial site to ask questions. Calling does show the companies that there is interest in these therapies and simply calling does not mean that you are committing to enrollment.
Hope for our future
As a patient living with Sjögren’s, you are very aware of how this disease has impacted your life. These new therapies bring real hope to all patients that soon every patient living with Sjögren’s will have a higher quality life than they have today. And as new therapies come to market, companies will advertise these therapies and bring greater awareness to the general public about Sjögren’s disease, helping those millions of people who are currently misdiagnosed or undiagnosed get the help they need to manage this serious and complex disease. New therapies also raise awareness on the part of healthcare providers, giving them new tools for treating their patients and increasing their recognition that Sjögren’s is a serious disease that warrants treatment.
We just need more patients to enroll in clinical trials to make this happen!
Learn more at https://www.sjogrens.org/livingwith-sjogrens/clinical-trials. On this page, we have a video by Dr. Herb Baraf on “Clinical Trials: What Every Patient Should Know” that guides patients considering engaging in a clinical trial. The same page offers links to more information on resources on clinical trials and a list of trials by state.
This article was first printed in the Foundation's patient newsletter for members.