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Disease Education

At Kezar Life Sciences, we are committed to bringing better treatment options to patients living with difficult-to-treat chronic conditions. It is our hope that the research conducted at our organization significantly reduces the burden that patients, as well as their families and caregivers, have to bare.

We are dedicated to having a patient-centric approach and prioritize the needs of all patients living with these rare diseases. Our goal is to help ensure that patients are not only alive but well and have an improved quality of life.

Lupus Nephritis

A Rare and Chronic Autoimmune Kidney Disease

Lupus Nephritis (LN) is a rare disease involving inflammation of the kidneys and represents a serious complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), a systemic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. LN and SLE are chronic, extremely debilitating and progressive diseases that carry an increased risk of death.

SLE affects ~322,000 people in the U.S., and ~50% of people living with SLE will develop LN.

Kidneys remove waste from blood and control body fluid levels. LN occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the kidneys, causing inflammation in the kidneys and preventing performance of vital functions.

  • Blood in urine
  • High blood pressure
  • High levels of a waste product called creatinine in the blood
  • Foamy urine (due to excess protein in urine)
  • Swelling of hands, ankles or feet


Women are more likely to get SLE (9/10). Men with SLE are at a higher risk of developing lupus nephritis.

Race or Ethnicity

Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos and Asian Americans are more likely to have LN than Caucasians. The prognosis for patients with LN is worse in Blacks and Hispanics.

There are limited effective treatments for LN. While steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs can help manage severe LN by slowing or stopping the immune system from attacking healthy cells, they can have serious side effects and don’t work for about 50% of patients.

1. | 2. | 3. ICER_Lupus-Nephritis_Revised-Scope_092920.pdf | 4. | 5. doctors-who-treat-lupus


A Rare Autoimmune Muscle and Skin Disease

Dermatomyositis (DM) is rare, idiopathic, and one of four forms of inflammatory myopathy. It is marked by muscle weakness and rash. People with DM often experience pain, difficulty climbing stairs, difficulty swallowing, arthritis, and many have a variety of skin changes.

Yearly incidence of DM is between 1 to 10 people per million, and the prevalence is between 1/50,000 and 1/10,000.

The specific underlying cause of DM remains unknown. However, evidence suggests that genetic, immune, and environmental factors could play a role, including viral infections, sun exposure, smoking and certain medications.

Can appear suddenly or develop gradually over time and include:

  • Distinctive, patchy, dark reddish/purple heliotrope rash on the cheeks and bridge of nose
  • Heliotrope, itchy or painful rash or scaling on the eyelids, face, forehead, scalp and elbows
  • Calcinosis (calcium deposits)
  • Muscle weakness in the hips, thighs, shoulders, upper arms and neck
  • Panniculitis (painful lumps)


DM is twice as common in women than in men.

Race or Ethnicity

It is three times as common in Blacks than in Whites.


It is most common in people who are 40 to 60 years of age.

There are limited effective therapies for DM. Current treatment options include high-dose corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents to help manage DM, but these can have serious side effects. Physical therapy and exercise may play a beneficial role in managing DM.

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A Rare Autoimmune Muscle Disease

Polymyositis (PM) is a rare, autoimmune muscle disorder characterized by chronic muscle inflammation and weakness. PM is gradual in onset, and without treatment could eventually affect one’s ability to rise from a seated position, climb stairs, lift objects or reach overhead.

Yearly incidence of PM is between 1 to 5 people per million, and the prevalence is 1/14,000.

Like other types of myositis, the cause of PM is unknown. PM shares many characteristics with autoimmune disorders as the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy muscle fibers.

  • Muscle weakness on both sides and areas, especially those closest to the center of the body (neck, shoulders, upper arms, hips and thighs)
  • Muscle aches
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing/speaking
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic dry cough

Preexisting Conditions

Lung disease, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, viral infections, cardiovascular disease, connective tissue disorders and Sjogren’s syndrome.


PM is more common in women than in men by a 2:1 ratio.

Race or Ethnicity

In the U.S., a Black-to-Caucasian ratio of 5:1 has been reported.


PM most commonly affects adults over the age of 20, particularly people in their 30s, 40s or 50s

Treatment is based upon signs and symptoms, but physicians can offer high-dose corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive agents. Exercise and physical therapy are recommended to improve muscle strength and flexibility. Speech therapy can be recommended for difficulties with swallowing and speech. Some may also recommend infusion of intravenous immunoglobulin to block autoantibodies.

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Solid Tumors

KZR-261 is being studied in advanced solid tumors with emphasis on malignant/uveal
melanoma, colorectal carcinoma, prostate cancer and mesothelioma.

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