Rituximab Therapy and Autoimmune Disease
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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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: February 1, 2012
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