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Open Access Rituximab Therapy and Autoimmune Disease

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In recent years, advances in our understanding of the regulation of the immune system have enabled the identification of cellular and molecular targets that could affect the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. B-cells play pivotal role in autoantigen presentation and in autoantibody production. Thus, rituximab (RTX), a chimeric monoclonal antibody specific for human CD20, which targets B lymphocytes, could be a potential new biological treatment for autoimmune diseases. The aim of this mini review is to discuss the potential use of RTX in the management of autoimmune disorders. Results from early phase clinical trials indicates that RTX therapy may provide clinical benefit in systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren' syndrome, thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic anemia, rheumatoid arthritis and myasthenia gravis. So, it is concluded that RTX therapy alone/or in combinations with corticosteroids, is likely to provide an important new treatment option for a number of difficult to treat autoimmune diseases.

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Keywords: Autoimmune Disorders; Autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome; B-cell; CD20; Immune thrrombocytopenic purpura; Multiple sclerosis; NHL; RA; RTX; Systemic lupus erythematosus

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • Current Immunology Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances in clinical immunology. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to clinical research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians in clinical immunology.
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