UVA-1 Phototherapy for Cutaneous Lupus Clinical Trial

An open-label study to determine the safety and efficacy of low-dose UVA-1 phototherapy in treating cutaneous lupus patients. Please also see our Cutaneous Lupus Disease Registry.

About the Trial

Who is eligible to join?

Anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to join:

  • Over 18 years of age
  • At least one area of skin with active cutaneous lupus (e.g. redness, scaling, etc.)
  • Stable doses of lupus medications for at least 30 days
  • No history of skin cancer, other photosensitive skin condition (e.g. porphyrias, polymorphic light eruption, xeroderma pigmentosum, etc.), or organ transplant
  • No current use of photosensitizing medication (e.g. tetracycline, doxycycline, isotretinoin, etc.)
  • No red “butterfly rash” over the cheeks and nose at the time of enrollment

What does it cost?

There is no cost to participate in this study. Enrollment, laboratory testing, and treatment associated with the study are offered at no cost to you. You will receive compensation for your time participating in the study.

How do I join the study?

Contact us by email or phone to see if you are eligible.

Can I join both the UVA-1 trial and the cutaneous lupus registry?

Yes! Most of our current trial participants are also involved with the cutaneous lupus registry

How much time will this take?

The initial screening and enrollment takes approximately one hour while the UVA-1 sessions average approximately 30 minutes in the phototherapy booth each time. There are a total of 30 phototherapy sessions (3 per week for 10 weeks) with four additional follow-up clinic visits to check on progress. The first three follow-up sessions are often scheduled before or after a phototherapy session (the last session will take place eight weeks after the completion of the 30 treatments).

I was told that cutaneous lupus would make my skin sensitive to the sun. Why should this treatment help my symptoms rather than damage my skin?

There are three categories of wavelengths of ultraviolet light: UVA, UVB, and UVC. While UVC is blocked by the ozone layer, UVB is primarily responsible for sunburns and the photosensitivity reaction that lupus patients experience. UVA is split into UVA-1 and UVA-2. UVA-1 has the longest wavelength of UV light, which can potentially interact with immune cells deep in the skin without causing sunburns. It has been used to treat other autoimmune skin conditions.

In addition, there have been several small trials using low-dose UVA-1 phototherapy in patients with systemic lupus, resulting in improvement of systemic lupus symptoms. We aim to determine whether low dose UVA-1 phototherapy could improve the skin in patients with cutaneous lupus and will be monitoring for safety of this treatment throughout the study.

If you or your dermatologist have any questions about the trial or phototherapy as a treatment for your cutaneous lupus, feel free to contact us at any time.