Targeting the BLyS family in autoimmunity: a tale of mouse and man

Author(s): Jean L Scholz, Eline T Luning Prak, Michael P Cancro

Members of the B-lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) family play key roles in B-lymphocyte survival, selection, and differentiation. Recent US FDA approval of the neutralizing anti-BLyS antibody, belimumab, for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus brings members of this cytokine family further into the spotlight as targets for treating autoimmune disease. Here, we briefly review the current understanding of BLyS family roles from extensive research in mice, and note similarities and differences with humans. We summarize the significant insight into human B-cell biology that has been derived from clinical trials. Finally, we discuss how future clinical trials might be designed to afford a deeper understanding of processes governed by the BLyS family, in order to better predict clinical success with BLyS family‑targeted therapies.