SHANGHAI, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists will conduct the second-phase clinical trial of a new drug to treat lupus, an autoimmune disease, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said.
The new drug SM934 is a water-soluble artemisinin derivative developed by researchers with the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica under the CAS. It has been patent protected.
Approved by the National Medical Products Administration, China's pharmaceutical watchdog, the new drug has completed the first human trial and will begin its second-phase trial at a hospital in Shanghai.
Systemic lupus erythematosus, simply known as lupus, is an autoimmune disorder in which the human immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. It can damage joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, the brain, heart and lungs.
The most distinctive sign of lupus is a facial rash that resembles the wings of a butterfly unfolding across both cheeks.
Nearly 1 million people in China are suffering from lupus.
Since the origin and development of the disease remain unclear, new drug development has proven challenging.
The CAS said SM934 is an oral medicine with low dosage but strong effect which can modulate autoimmune responses and restore the body's immune balance.
The second-phase trial will be carried out in patients diagnosed with mild to moderate lupus.