Drug Development in Pemphigoid Diseases
Katja Bieber, Ralf J. Ludwig
Pemphigoid diseases are organ-specific autoimmune diseases of the skin and/or mucous membranes. They are caused by autoantibodies targeting adhesion molecules located at the dermal–epidermal junction. While the diagnostics of pemphigoid diseases and insights into their pathogenesis have improved significantly, the development of novel treatments that are effective and safe remains an unmet medical need. However, numerous pre-clinical studies and early clinical trials have recently been launched. This review summarizes some pathways leading to drug development in pemphigoid diseases, namely: (i) hypothesis-driven drug development; (ii) omics-based drug development; (iii) drug repurposing; (iv) screening-based drug development; and (v) drug development based on careful clinical observations. Ultimately, it is hoped that this will lead to personalized and curative treatments.
Despite detailed insights into the pathogenesis of pemphigoid diseases, their treatment still relies on unspecific immunosuppression. Since such treatment contributes significantly to the high patient morbidity and increased mortality, we propose pathways that may facilitate drug development for pemphigoid diseases. With this we aim to foster translational research to develop new treatment strategies for patients with pemphigoid diseases.