VICTORIA, British Columbia & ROCKVILLE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AUPH / TSX: AUP) (Aurinia or the Company) today, in recognition of World Lupus Day, affirmed its commitment to increasing access to equitable healthcare for individuals living with the autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN) through the sponsorship of grants to establish community-focused patient navigator programs. LN is one of the most serious and common complications of SLE and affects significantly more Black, Asian, and Hispanic individuals living with SLE than non-Hispanic white individuals with the condition. If left untreated, LN can cause irreversible kidney damage and increases the risk of kidney failure, cardiac events, and death.
The Request for Proposals (RFP) seeks submissions from U.S-focused patient advocacy organizations with a goal of addressing healthcare disparities faced by the underserved LN community and providing the education needed for patients to make informed choices about their health. Grant awards will be provided to organizations who are committed to implementing patient navigation programs that target disadvantaged populations and those most at risk of developing LN. As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare navigation programs are needed by patients now more than ever. A recent World Lupus Federation survey found that almost half of patients surveyed (approximately 3,000 patients) reported decreased access to at least one aspect of lupus healthcare during the last three months due to the pandemici.
“Patient navigation can be critical for those living with SLE and LN. Individualized support helps to navigate the complexities of our healthcare system. This is particularly important now more than ever with all of the challenges, confusion, and delays in care caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Christine Lindsay, Vice President, Professional & Advocacy Relations. “We look forward to supporting community organizations to ensure patients are connected with the resources needed to help effectively manage this serious disease.”
The grant awards aim to ensure that patients are educated about the importance of routine screenings and medical appointments; that patient’s basic needs are met; and that patients are connected with the resources needed to receive ongoing treatment and medical care. Organizations are encouraged to submit applications by June 1, 2021. The full RFP can be found here.
“Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN) are conditions that are often challenging to not only diagnose but also to treat. Disease management requires a personalized approach for each patient, with routine urine testing and regular physician visits to monitor disease activity,” said Sharon Dowell, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine Division of Rheumatology, Howard University College of Medicine. “These conditions may disproportionately impact disadvantaged communities, and a health navigator can most certainly provide valuable support to ensure that each patient gets the care they need to achieve the best health outcomes.”
About Lupus Nephritis
LN is a serious manifestation of SLE, a chronic and complex autoimmune disease. If poorly controlled, LN can lead to permanent and irreversible tissue damage within the kidney, resulting in kidney failure. Black and Asian individuals with SLE are four times more likely to develop LN and individuals of Hispanic ancestry are approximately twice as likely to develop the disease when compared with Caucasian individuals. Black and Hispanic individuals with SLE also tend to develop LN earlier and have poorer outcomes when compared to Caucasian individuals.
Aurinia is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on delivering therapies to treat targeted patient populations that are impacted by serious diseases with a high unmet medical need. The company recently introduced the first FDA-approved oral therapy dedicated for the treatment of adult patients with active lupus nephritis (LN). Aurinia’s head office is in Victoria, British Columbia, its U.S. commercial hub is in Rockville, Maryland, and development efforts are focused globally.