With antibodies against rheumatism

Targeted beat against the immune system brings improvement

Rheumatoid Arthritis University of W rzburg
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Rheumatism - in this disease, the immune system attacks the body. In the case of arthritis, the joints are mainly attacked, inflammation and pain are the consequences. Physicians from the University of Würzburg are using a novel therapy to combat this condition.

The patients receive infusions with the so-called anti-CD20 antibody. This causes almost all B-cells of the immune system to be destroyed. After six to eight weeks, the disease improves significantly, there are fewer joints inflamed, the pain stops.

"This method is effective in 60 to 70 percent of patients, " says Professor Hans-Peter Tony from the Rheumatism Center Würzburg / Bad Brückenau. In addition, the compatibility was very good. After treatment, patients remain unaffected by arthritis for up to nine months. Then the effect diminishes, the antibodies must be re-administered. "We have treated patients in this way three times in a row, " says Tony. Longer experiences do not exist so far.

B cell depletion is the name of the innovative method. In 1999, the Würzburg physicians were among the first in the world to use anti-CD20 antibodies against rheumatoid arthritis. Even today, this antibody therapy is only available in a few centers. "But their number will increase, " Tony is sure.

Although other forms of therapy bring good results, but they have the disadvantage that the patient must constantly take medication. "In contrast, B-cell depletion is about controlling the disease in the longer term, " Tony says. The Würzburg physician sees good prospects here: it may be possible to extend the effectiveness of the treatment more and more. Also a combination with other therapies could bring further improvements. display

(idw - University of Würzburg, 05.11.2004 - DLO)