The overall purpose of this project is to optimise the use of current therapies in SLE and increase awareness regarding important non-pharmacological interventions, such as smoking cessation.
In a previous study, we demonstrated that tobacco smoking was associated with a lower probability to respond to treatment with the anti-BAFF biological agent belimumab , especially in patients with mucocutaneous involvement . In a forthcoming study within the frame of this project, we will explore whether the association between smoking and belimumab inefficacy depends, at least partly, on the development of anti-drug antibodies (ADA), as previously shown in studies of e.g. multiple sclerosis  and rheumatoid arthritis . We will investigate the frequency and consequences of ADA against belimumab, including the potential connection between ADA development and belimumab inefficacy in smokers. That would provide a strong rationale for smoking cessation prior to belimumab initiation.