Possible Medicine to Treat Severe Autoimmune Attacks in People with CVID?

September 2, 2007 at 8:50 pm 1 comment

I have been wondering for a while whether rituximab, a drug that is approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis would work to suppress other severe forms of autoimmune disease in people with CVID. Rituxumab works by essentially scrubbing the blood clean of malfunctioning B cells that create autoantibodies, the stuff in your blood that attacks your body in an autoimmune response. New, normally functioning B cells are produced by the bone marrow and repopulate the blood, thus reducing autoimmune attacks. It’s kind of like pressing reset on a certain part of your immune system. This treatment has been tried sporadically with very ill patients who experience poor responses to more standard treatments like antihistamines, IVIG and steroids. One study shows that it worked well for a patient with a severe autoimmune response to his blood platelets. Another study found that patients with autoimmune responses to their own red blood cells had good outcomes from rituximab treatment.

A couple of words of caution in interpreting these studies:

1. These are case studies and their findings have not necessarily been corroborated by other broader studies or clinical trials. These findings could be flukes.

2. Rituxumab suppresses the immune system. Obviously, taking it may be risky for people with  already compromised immune systems. Of course, it only suppresses B cells which don’t work very well in people with CVID anyway.

None-the-less, I wonder if this could be a possible future treatment for CVID patients with a variety of stubborn chronic autoimmune issues.

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Entry filed under: allergies, autoimmune disease, Common Variable Immunodeficiency(CVID), cvid, disease, doctors, drug development, immunodeficiency, medicine, Uncategorized.

One Potential Genetic Cause of CVID Visual Representation of the Immune System

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