two doctors at a microscope

Three presentations at the American College of Rheumatology annual conference in San Diego addressed new classification criteria for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The criteria result from a collaboration between ACR and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR).

“It is a very exciting time for systemic lupus erythematosus clinical trials, because there are new therapeutic agents being developed that will be studied over the next few years,” said Sindhu Johnson, director of the University of Toronto’s Toronto Scleroderma Program and co-chair of a 12-person steering committee which developed the criteria, in a news release.

“Classification criteria are used for the inclusion of participants in clinical trials and help us identify a more homogenous group of patients for these studies,” she added.

Where researchers previously favored one set of lupus classification criteria over another, the collaboration between more than 150 researchers at ACR and EULAR, who pored over data from more than 2,200 patients, better allows rheumatologists to compare studies on a global basis, according to the release. Additionally, Johnson said, it’s been difficult to identify patients with early disease, and outcomes may improve here with early lupus intervention.

And, the release added, another novel factor was including a patient perspective in the process. “These new classification criteria are global, collaborative, and include that valuable patient involvement,” she said.