Dr Muhammad Shipa receives Junior Investigator Award
4 April 2022
Junior Investigator Award 2021, American College of Physicians (ACP) and Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr Shipa is currently pursuing his PhD under the supervision of Professor Michael Ehrenstein in the field of B cell-targeted therapy in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). He is soon due to complete his advanced training in Rheumatology and General Internal Medicine. He has been working closely with the EULAR (European Alliance of associations for rheumatology) and EMEUNET (The emerging EULAR networking) as a working member of the Visibility and Global affairs Subcommittee. Dr Shipa has presented at several conferences and won the Gordon Davies Silver award for one presentation. He is passionate about teaching and won the best Tutor award for teaching medical students in 2013. Apart from several publications, he has also co-authored a chapter entitled ‘Pregnancy and myositis’ in the ‘Practical management of pregnant patient with rheumatology disease’ textbook.
“It is my great privilege to receive the Annals' Junior Investigator Award for our article - “Effectiveness of belimumab after rituximab in systemic lupus erythematosus”/BEAT-LUPUS trial which was published in the December 2021 issue of the journal.
BEAT-LUPUS is the first academic-led randomised controlled trial for SLE (Systemic lupus erythematosus) in the UK for more than a decade. In this 52 -weeks multi-centre (16 centres from the UK), double-blind randomised controlled trial (RCT) we investigated the efficacy and safety of adding the B cell activating factor (BAFF, also known as B-lymphocyte stimulator, or BLyS)-neutralizing monoclonal antibody Belimumab after Rituximab (B cell depletion therapy that targets the pan B cell marker CD20) versus placebo after rituximab in SLE patients whose disease was resistant to conventional therapies (total number of participants, N = 52). The results demonstrated a significant reduction in serum IgG anti-dsDNA antibody levels (which is a widely accepted clinical biomarker of lupus) and the number of severe lupus flares with belimumab after rituximab. Most importantly this combination did not increase the risk of serious adverse reactions. This study will support further exploration of combination therapy in SLE.