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1.  Initial clinical trial of epratuzumab (humanized anti-CD22 antibody) for immunotherapy of systemic lupus erythematosus 
B cells play an important role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), so the safety and activity of anti-B cell immunotherapy with the humanized anti-CD22 antibody epratuzumab was evaluated in SLE patients. An open-label, single-center study of 14 patients with moderately active SLE (total British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG) score 6 to 12) was conducted. Patients received 360 mg/m2 epratuzumab intravenously every 2 weeks for 4 doses with analgesic/antihistamine premedication (but no steroids) prior to each dose. Evaluations at 6, 10, 18 and 32 weeks (6 months post-treatment) follow-up included safety, SLE activity (BILAG score), blood levels of epratuzumab, B and T cells, immunoglobulins, and human anti-epratuzumab antibody (HAHA) titers. Total BILAG scores decreased by ≥ 50% in all 14 patients at some point during the study (including 77% with a ≥ 50% decrease at 6 weeks), with 92% having decreases of various amounts continuing to at least 18 weeks (where 38% showed a ≥ 50% decrease). Almost all patients (93%) experienced improvements in at least one BILAG B- or C-level disease activity at 6, 10 and 18 weeks. Additionally, 3 patients with multiple BILAG B involvement at baseline had completely resolved all B-level disease activities by 18 weeks. Epratuzumab was well tolerated, with a median infusion time of 32 minutes. Drug serum levels were measurable for at least 4 weeks post-treatment and detectable in most samples at 18 weeks. B cell levels decreased by an average of 35% at 18 weeks and remained depressed at 6 months post-treatment. Changes in routine safety laboratory tests were infrequent and without any consistent pattern, and there was no evidence of immunogenicity or significant changes in T cells, immunoglobulins, or autoantibody levels. In patients with mild to moderate active lupus, 360 mg/m2 epratuzumab was well tolerated, with evidence of clinical improvement after the first infusion and durable clinical benefit across most body systems. As such, multicenter controlled studies are being conducted in broader patient populations.
PMCID: PMC1526638  PMID: 16630358
2.  Chemoimmunotherapy Reinduction With Epratuzumab in Children With Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Marrow Relapse: A Children's Oncology Group Pilot Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(22):3756-3762.
To determine the tolerability and serum concentration of epratuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting CD22, administered alone and in combination with reinduction chemotherapy in children with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and to preliminarily assess tumor targeting and efficacy.
Patients and Methods
Therapy consisted of a single-agent phase (epratuzumab 360 mg/m2/dose intravenously twice weekly × four doses), followed by four weekly doses of epratuzumab in combination with standard reinduction chemotherapy. Morphologic and minimal residual disease (MRD) responses were determined at the end of this 6-week period. Serum concentrations of epratuzumab were determined before and 30 minutes after infusions, and CD22 targeting efficiency was determined by quantifying changes in CD22 expression after epratuzumab administration.
Fifteen patients (12 fully assessable for toxicity) with first or later CD22-positive ALL marrow relapse enrolled on the feasibility portion of this study from December 2005 to June 2006. Two dose-limiting toxicities occurred: one grade 4 seizure of unclear etiology and one asymptomatic grade 3 ALT elevation. In all but one patient, surface CD22 was not detected by flow cytometry on peripheral blood leukemic blasts within 24 hours of drug administration, indicating effective targeting of leukemic cells by epratuzumab. Nine patients achieved a complete remission after chemoimmunotherapy, seven of whom were MRD negative.
Treatment with epratuzumab plus standard reinduction chemotherapy is feasible and acceptably tolerated in children with relapsed CD22-positive ALL. CD22 targeting was efficient, and the majority of patients achieved favorable early responses.
PMCID: PMC2654811  PMID: 18669463
3.  Epratuzumab targeting of CD22 affects adhesion molecule expression and migration of B-cells in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(6):R204.
Epratuzumab, a humanized anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody, is under investigation as a therapeutic antibody in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), but its mechanism of action on B-cells remains elusive. Treatment of SLE patients with epratuzumab leads to a reduction of circulating CD27negative B-cells, although epratuzumab is weakly cytotoxic to B-cells in vitro. Therefore, potential effects of epratuzumab on adhesion molecule expression and the migration of B-cells have been evaluated.
Epratuzumab binding specificity and the surface expression of adhesion molecules (CD62L, β7 integrin and β1 integrin) after culture with epratuzumab was studied on B-cell subsets of SLE patients by flow cytometry. In addition, in vitro transwell migration assays were performed to analyze the effects of epratuzumab on migration towards different chemokines such as CXCL12, CXCL13 or to CXCR3 ligands, and to assess the functional consequences of altered adhesion molecule expression.
Epratuzumab binding was considerably higher on B-cells relative to other cell types assessed. No binding of epratuzumab was observed on T-cells, while weak non-specific binding of epratuzumab on monocytes was noted. On B-cells, binding of epratuzumab was particularly enhanced on CD27negative B-cells compared to CD27positive B-cells, primarily related to a higher expression of CD22 on CD27negative B-cells. Moreover, epratuzumab binding led to a decrease in the cell surface expression of CD62L and β7 integrin, while the expression of β1 integrin was enhanced. The effects on the pattern of adhesion molecule expression observed with epratuzumab were principally confined to a fraction of the CD27negative B-cell subpopulation and were associated with enhanced spontaneous migration of B-cells. Furthermore, epratuzumab also enhanced the migration of CD27negative B-cells towards the chemokine CXCL12.
The current data suggest that epratuzumab has effects on the expression of the adhesion molecules CD62L, β7 integrin and β1 integrin as well as on migration towards CXCL12, primarily of CD27negative B-cells. Therefore, induced changes in migration appear to be part of the mechanism of action of epratuzumab and are consistent with the observation that CD27negative B-cells were found to be preferentially reduced in the peripheral blood under treatment.
PMCID: PMC3046510  PMID: 21050432
4.  Targeting CD22 as a strategy for treating systemic autoimmune diseases 
B-cells play an important role in the diagnosis and to some extent the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. Specific B-cell directed antibodies are now gaining an increasing role in the management of these diseases. The first antibody target in this regard was CD20, with the development and introduction of rituximab in the management of B-cell malignancies as well as rheumatoid arthritis. A second candidate target is CD22, and the first antagonistic antibody to this B-cell marker is epratuzumab, which appears to function, in contrast to CD20 antibodies, more by modulation of B-cells than by their depletion capacity. Originally developed for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, epratuzumab has now been reported to be effective, with a very good safety profile, in two prototype autoimmune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus and primary Sjögren’s syndrome. As such, this new investigational antibody may provide distinct therapeutic effects and may be complementary to the known effects and role of CD20 antibodies.
PMCID: PMC2376077  PMID: 18473018
autoimmune diseases; CD22; B-cells; epratuzumab
5.  Efficacy and safety of epratuzumab in patients with moderate/severe active systemic lupus erythematosus: results from EMBLEM, a phase IIb, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2013;73(1):183-190.
To identify a suitable dosing regimen of the CD22-targeted monoclonal antibody epratuzumab in adults with moderately to severely active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
A phase IIb, multicentre, randomised controlled study (NCT00624351) was conducted with 227 patients (37–39 per arm) receiving either: placebo, epratuzumab 200 mg cumulative dose (cd) (100 mg every other week (EOW)), 800 mg cd (400 mg EOW), 2400 mg cd (600 mg weekly), 2400 mg cd (1200 mg EOW), or 3600 mg cd (1800 mg EOW). The primary endpoint (not powered for significance) was the week 12 responder rate measured using a novel composite endpoint, the British Isles Lupus Assessment Group (BILAG)-based Combined Lupus Assessment (BICLA).
Proportion of responders was higher in all epratuzumab groups than with placebo (overall treatment effect test p=0.148). Exploratory pairwise analysis demonstrated clinical improvement in patients receiving a cd of 2400 mg epratuzumab (OR for 600 mg weekly vs placebo: 3.2 (95% CI 1.1 to 8.8), nominal p=0.03; OR for 1200 mg EOW vs placebo: 2.6 (0.9 to 7.1), nominal p=0.07). Post-hoc comparison of all 2400 mg cd patients versus placebo found an overall treatment effect (OR=2.9 (1.2 to 7.1), nominal p=0.02). Incidence of adverse events (AEs), serious AEs and infusion reactions was similar between epratuzumab and placebo groups, without decreases in immunoglobulin levels and only partial reduction in B-cell levels.
Treatment with epratuzumab 2400 mg cd was well tolerated in patients with moderately to severely active SLE, and associated with improvements in disease activity. Phase III studies are ongoing.
PMCID: PMC3888603  PMID: 23313811
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus; Treatment; B cells
6.  Long-term safety of mepolizumab for the treatment of hypereosinophilic syndromes 
Hypereosinophilic syndromes (HES) are chronic disorders that require long-term therapy to suppress eosinophilia and clinical manifestations. Corticosteroids are usually effective, yet many patients become corticosteroid-refractory or develop corticosteroid toxicity. Mepolizumab, a humanised monoclonal anti-interleukin-5 antibody, demonstrated corticosteroid-sparing effects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of FIP1L1/PDGFRA-negative, corticosteroid-responsive subjects with HES.
To evaluate long-term safety and efficacy of mepolizumab (750 mg) in HES.
MHE100901 is an open-label extension study. The primary endpoint was the frequency of adverse events (AEs). Optimal dosing frequency, corticosteroid-sparing effect of mepolizumab, and development of anti-mepolizumab antibodies were also explored.
Seventy-eight subjects received 1–66 mepolizumab infusions each (including mepolizumab infusions received in the placebo-controlled trial). Mean exposure was 251 weeks (range 4–302). The most common dosing interval was 9–12 weeks. The incidence of AEs was 932 events per 100 subject-years in the first year, declining to 461 events per 100 subject-years after 48 months. Serious AEs, including one death, were reported by the investigator as possibly due to mepolizumab in three subjects. The median daily prednisone dose decreased from 20.0 to 0 mg in the first 24 weeks. The median average daily dose for all subjects over the course of the study was 1.8 mg. Sixty-two percent of subjects were prednisone-free without other HES medications for ≥12 consecutive weeks. No neutralizing antibodies were detected. Twenty-four subjects withdrew prior to study completion for death (n=4), lack of efficacy (n=6), or other reasons.
Mepolizumab was well tolerated and effective as a long-term corticosteroid-sparing agent in PDGFRA-negative HES.
PMCID: PMC3558744  PMID: 23040887
eosinophil; monoclonal antibody; interleukin-5; corticosteroid
7.  Tumour targeting of humanised cross-linked divalent-fab′ antibody fragments: a clinical phase I/II study 
British Journal of Cancer  2002;86(9):1401-1410.
Antibody engineering has made it possible to design antibodies with optimal characteristics for delivery of radionuclides for tumour imaging and therapy. A humanised divalent-Fab′ cross-linked with a bis-maleimide linker referred to as humanised divalent-Fab′ maleimide was produced as a result of this design process. It is a humanised divalent antibody with no Fc, which can be produced in bacteria and has enhanced stability compared with F(ab′)2. Here we describe a clinical study in patients with colorectal cancer using humanised divalent-Fab′ maleimide generated from the anti-carcinoembryonic antigen antibody A5B7 radiolabelled with iodine-131. Ten patients received an i.v. injection of iodine-131-labelled A5B7 humanised divalent-Fab′ maleimide, and positive tumour images were obtained by gamma camera imaging in eight patients with known lesions, and one previously undetected lesion was identified. True negative results were obtained in two patients without tumour. Area under the curve analysis of serial blood gamma counting and gamma camera images showed a higher tumour to blood ratio compared to A5B7 mF(ab′)2 used previously in the clinic, implying this new molecule may be superior for radioimmunotherapy. MIRD dose calculations showed a relatively high radiation dose to the kidney, which may limit the amount of activity that could be administered in radioimmunotherapy. However the reduction in immunogenicity was also a major advantage for A5B7 humanised divalent-Fab′ maleimide over murine versions of this antibody suggesting that humanised divalent-Fab′ maleimide should be a useful vehicle for repeated therapies.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 1401–1410. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600198
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
PMCID: PMC2375360  PMID: 11986771
humanised antibody; divalent-Fab′ maleimide; fragments; hDFM; imaging; colorectal cancer; phase I/II trial
8.  Spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage as an initial manifestation of primary Sjögren’s syndrome: a case report 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:100.
Sjögren’s syndrome can involve the central nervous system; however, spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage has rarely been reported as the initial manifestation.
Case presentation
We report a 39-year-old woman with primary Sjögren’s syndrome presenting with intracranial hemorrhage. The diagnosis of primary Sjögren’s syndrome was based on the presence of ocular dryness, salivary gland secretory and excretory dysfunction confirmed with dynamic tracer emission CT, and positive anti-Sjögren’s syndrome A and anti-Sjögren’s syndrome B antibodies.
Primary Sjögren’s syndrome can present with variable central nervous system signs, which may precede the classic sicca symptoms. Therefore, Sjögren’s syndrome-associated indicators should be investigated in patients without the common risk factors for stroke who present with spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage.
PMCID: PMC3729598  PMID: 23889823
Sjögren’s syndrome; Vasculitis; Intracranial hemorrhage; Internal carotid artery; Moyamoya disease; Anti-Sjögren’s syndrome A antibody; Anti-Sjögren’s syndrome B antibody
9.  Safety and efficacy of leflunomide in primary Sjögren's syndrome: a phase II pilot study 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2007;66(8):1026-1032.
For invalidating symptoms in primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS), there is still a need for easy‐to‐administer, cost‐effective and well‐tolerated systemic treatment. Leflunomide (LEF) is structurally unrelated to other immunomodulatory drugs and might be efficacious in pSS, given its characteristic immunoregulatory modes of action.
To investigate the safety and efficacy of LEF in pSS in a phase II open‐label pilot study.
15 patients with pSS with early and active disease received LEF 20 mg once daily for 24 weeks. Tolerability, safety and efficacy of LEF were evaluated every 8 weeks. Additional safety visits were performed every fortnight.
Mild gastrointestinal discomfort (including diarrhoea) and hair loss were mainly reported. Five patients developed lupus‐like skin lesions on the face, arms or trunk, responding well to topical corticosteroids, nevertheless causing the withdrawal of one patient. Two patients with pre‐existing hypertension had to increase dosages of anti‐hypertensive drugs. Increased levels of alanine aminotransferase normalised after dose reduction in two patients. A decrease in general fatigue and an increase in physical functioning were observed after 24 weeks. Serum IgG levels decreased from 8 weeks onwards. Schirmer test values increased, not reaching statistical significance, whereas sialometry values did not change. In four of five repeated biopsies, the lymphocytic focus score decreased at the rate of 1 focus/4 mm2. A remarkable amelioration of leucocytoclastic vasculitis was observed in three patients.
Although the safety profile seems fairly acceptable, the observed indications for efficacy were modest and may be doubtful in justifying a randomised controlled trial of LEF in pSS.
PMCID: PMC1954693  PMID: 17223657
10.  Anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB autoantibodies in the tear fluid of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome 
Purpose: To investigate the presence of anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB antibodies in the tear fluid and serum of patients with Sjögren’s syndrome and to evaluate the association of these autoantibodies with the severity of keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
Methods: Tear fluid and serum were obtained from 28 patients with Sjögren’s syndrome and 17 age matched normal control subjects. Evaluation of tear fluid and sera anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB levels was done by using a quantitative enzyme linked immunosorbent assay kit designed for the quantitative measurement of IgG class autoantibodies directed against highly purified SSA and SSB antigens. Tear function and ocular surface were evaluated by Schirmer I test, tear break up time, and rose bengal staining. Dry eye symptom scores were recorded.
Results: Increased levels of anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB antibodies were detected in sera of 57.1% and 50% of SS patients, respectively. Six patients had increased levels of anti-Ro/SSA in the tear fluid, in one case anti-Ro/SSA being detected in tear fluid when it was negative in serum. Ten patients had positive anti-La/SSB titres in tear fluid and in four of these patients, anti-La/SSB titres were not elevated in serum. A positive correlation was observed between serum and tear fluid titres of anti-Ro/SSA (r = 0.43, p = 0.02), but not of anti-La/SSB. Serum anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB concentrations correlated positively with dry eye symptom scores (r = 0.42, p = 0.02 and r = 0.48, p = 0.01, respectively) and negatively correlated with Schirmer I test scores (r = −0.39, p = 0.04 and r = −0.40, p = 0.03, respectively). Significant correlations were found between tear anti-La/SSB concentrations and dry eye symptom score (r = 0.56, p = 0.02) and also rose bengal staining scores of the ocular surface (r = 0.44, p = 0.02).
Conclusion: This study shows that autoantibodies against Ro/SSA and La/SSB antigens are present in the tear fluid of some patients with SS and their presence in serum or tear fluid is associated with the severity of keratoconjunctivitis sicca. Additional measurement of tear fluid levels of anti-Ro/SSA and anti-La/SSB may serve as a valuable diagnostic indicator of SS.
PMCID: PMC1772044  PMID: 14977774
Sjögren’s syndrome; anti-Ro/SSA; anti-La/SSB autoantibodies; tear fluid; keratoconjunctivitis sicca
11.  Diagnostic accuracy of blood B-cell subset profiling and autoimmunity markers in Sjögren’s syndrome 
The aims of this study were to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of blood B-cell subset profiling and immune-system activation marker assays in primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) and to assess whether adding these tools to the current laboratory item would improve the American-European Consensus Group (AECG) criteria.
In a single-center cohort of patients with suspected pSS, we tested the diagnostic performance of anti-SSA, antinuclear antibody (ANA), rheumatoid factor (RF), gammaglobulins, IgG titers, and B-cell ratio defined as (Bm2 + Bm2′)/(eBm5 + Bm5), determined using flow cytometry. The reference standard was a clinical diagnosis of pSS established by a panel of experts.
Of 181 patients included in the study, 77 had pSS. By logistic regression analysis, only ANA ≥1:640 (sensitivity, 70.4%; specificity 83.2%) and B-cell ratio ≥5 (sensitivity, 52.1%; specificity, 83.2%) showed independent associations with pSS of similar strength. In anti-SSA-negative patients, presence of either of these two criteria had 71.0% sensitivity but only 67.3% specificity for pSS; whereas combining both criteria had 96.2% specificity but only 12.9% sensitivity. Adding either of these two criteria to the AECG criteria set increased sensitivity from 83.1% to 90.9% but decreased specificity from 97.1% to 85.6%, whereas adding both criteria in combination did not substantially modify the diagnostic performance of the criteria set. The adjunction of RF + ANA ≥1:320, as proposed in the new American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria, did not improve the diagnostic value of anti-SSA.
Blood B-cell subset profiling is a simple test that has good diagnostic properties for pSS. However, adding this test, with or without ANA positivity, does not improve current classification criteria.
PMCID: PMC3978459  PMID: 24433480
12.  Anti-centromere antibody-seropositive Sjögren's syndrome differs from conventional subgroup in clinical and pathological study 
To clarify the clinicopathological characteristics of primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) with anti-centromere antibody (ACA).
Characteristics of 14 patients of pSS with ACA were evaluated. All patients were anti-SS-A/Ro and SS-B/La antibodies negative (ACA+ group) without sclerodactyly. The prevalence of Raynaud's phenomenon (RP), titer of IgG and focus score (FS) in the minor salivary glands (MSGs) were determined. Quantification analysis of Azan Mallory staining was performed to detect collagenous fiber. Forty eight patients in whom ACA was absent were chosen as the conventional (ACA-) pSS group.
Prevalence of ACA+ SS patients was 14 out of 129 (10.85%) pSS patients. RP was observed in 61.5% of the patients with ACA. The level of IgG in the ACA+ group was significantly lower than that of the ACA- group (p = 0.018). Statistical difference was also found in the FS of MSGs from the ACA+ group (1.4 ± 1.0) as compared with the ACA- group (2.3 ± 1.6) (p = 0.035). In contrast, the amount of fibrous tissue was much higher in the ACA+ group (65052.2 ± 14520.6 μm2 versus 26251.3 ± 14249.8 μm2 ) (p = 1.3 × 10-12).
Low cellular infiltration but with an increase in fibrous tissues may explain the clinical feature of a high prevalence of RP and normal IgG concentration in ACA+ pSS.
PMCID: PMC2902414  PMID: 20591195
13.  Hydroxychloroquine treatment for primary Sjögren's syndrome: a two year double blind crossover trial. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1993;52(5):360-364.
OBJECTIVES--In 1985 and 1988 a positive effect of treatment of primary Sjögren's syndrome with hydroxychloroquine was reported in two small open studies. To investigate further the clinical and laboratory effects of hydroxychloroquine in primary Sjögren's syndrome a two year study was performed. METHODS--The design of the study included a prospective, placebo controlled, two year double blind crossover trial in 19 patients. RESULTS--A significant decrease in IgG and IgM and a tendency for a decrease in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) during treatment with hydroxychloroquine compared with treatment with placebo were found. No beneficial clinical effect of the use of hydroxychloroquine as expressed in preference for treatment with hydroxychloroquine or placebo with regard to symptoms and signs of primary Sjögren's syndrome could be shown, however, nor any relevant change in tear gland activity and sequelae of peripheral tear function deficiency, nor salivary gland scintigraphy. CONCLUSIONS--The use of hydroxychloroquine at a dose of 400 mg daily taken over a 12 month period does not have a worthwhile clinical benefit in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome despite an improvement of hyperglobulinaemia and slight changes in the ESR and IgM.
PMCID: PMC1005050  PMID: 8323383
14.  Epratuzumab for patients with moderate to severe flaring SLE: health-related quality of life outcomes and corticosteroid use in the randomized controlled ALLEVIATE trials and extension study SL0006 
Rheumatology (Oxford, England)  2013;53(3):502-511.
Objective. To evaluate health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and corticosteroid use in patients with moderate to severely active SLE enrolled in two international, multicentre, randomized controlled trials of epratuzumab (ALLEVIATE-1 and -2) and a long-term extension study (SL0006).
Methods. Ninety ALLEVIATE patients (43% BILAG A, mean BILAG score 13.2) were randomized to receive 360 mg/m2 (n = 42) or 720 mg/m2 (n = 11) epratuzumab or placebo (n = 37), plus standard of care, in 12-week cycles. Corticosteroid use, patient and physician global assessments of disease activity (PtGA and PGA) and 36-item Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form (SF-36) results were recorded at baseline and every 4 weeks. Both trials were prematurely discontinued due to a drug supply interruption; patients followed for ≥6 months were analysed. Twenty-nine patients continued in SL0006, with interim analysis at a median exposure of 120 (range 13–184) weeks.
Results. At week 12, proportions of patients with a PGA ≥20% above baseline or with a PtGA improvement greater than or equal to the minimum clinically important difference were higher in the epratuzumab arms than the placebo arm. PGA and PtGA improvements were sustained but did not reach statistical significance. At week 24, mean cumulative corticosteroid doses with epratuzumab 360 and 720 mg/m2 were 1051 and 1973 mg less than placebo (P = 0.034 and 0.081, respectively). At week 48, SF-36 scores approached or exceeded US age- and gender-matched norms in five domains with the 360 mg/m2 treatment. Improvements were maintained in SL0006 over ∼2 years.
Conclusion. Epratuzumab treatment produced clinically meaningful and sustained improvements in PGA, PtGA and HRQOL and reductions in corticosteroid doses.
PMCID: PMC3930886  PMID: 24273022
epratuzumab; CD22; ALLEVIATE; lupus; SLE; HRQOL; SF-36; corticosteroids; clinical trial; monoclonal antibody
15.  EBV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in a patient with primary Sjögren’s syndrome and membranous glomerulonephritis 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:149.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease in which lymphatic cells destroy the salivary and lacrimal glands. Glomerulonephritis is thought to be a rare occurrence in primary Sjögren’s syndrome. Furthermore, concurrent glomerular involvement and lymphoma in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome has seldom been reported.
Case presentation
A 52-year-old woman with primary Sjögren’s syndrome developed membranous glomerulonephritis and Epstein-Barr virus-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). She was diagnosed with Sjögren’s syndrome based on the dry eyes, dry mouth, positive anti-nuclear antibody test, anti-Ro (SS-A) antibody, salivary gland biopsy, and salivary scintigraphy. Moreover, renal biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of membranous glomerulonephritis. Three months later, her small bowel was perforated with pneumoperitoneum, and the biopsy revealed Epstein-Barr virus-positive DLBCL.
We observed the first case of primary Sjögren’s syndrome associated with Epstein-Barr Virus-positive DLBCL and membranous glomerulonephritis. Because of the possibility of malignancy-associated membranous glomerulonephritis in patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome, we should be careful and examine such patients for hidden malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3519503  PMID: 23151312
Primary Sjögren’s syndrome; Membranous glomerulonephritis; EBV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
16.  Rituximab Therapy for Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome: An Open-Label Clinical Trial and Mechanistic Analysis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(4):1097-1106.
To study the safety and clinical efficacy of rituximab therapy for primary Sjögren’s syndrome, as well as investigate its mechanisms.
Patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome were enrolled in an open-label trial and received rituximab (1 g) on days 1 and 15 and followed through week 52. The primary endpoint was safety, with secondary endpoints evaluating clinical and biologic efficacy. Blood was obtained for enumeration of lymphocyte subsets, measurement of serum autoantibodies and BAFF levels, and analysis of gene expression.
Twelve female subjects with primary Sjögren’s syndrome were administered rituximab. They had a median (range) age of 51 (34–69) years and a median (range) disease duration of 8.0 (2–18) years. We observed no unexpected toxicities from rituximab therapy. Modest improvements were observed at week 26 in patient-reported symptoms of fatigue and oral dryness, with no significant improvement in the objective measures of lacrimal and salivary gland function. The recovery of blood B cells following the nadir from rituximab therapy was characterized by a predominance of transitional B cells and a lack of memory B cells. While blood B cell depletion was associated with an increase in serum BAFF levels, no significant changes were observed in the levels of serum anti-Ro/SSA, anti-La/SSB, and anti-muscarinic receptor 3 autoantibodies or in the blood IFN signature.
In primary Sjögren’s syndrome, a single treatment course of rituximab was not associated with any unexpected toxicities and led to only modest clinical benefits despite effective depletion of blood B cells.
PMCID: PMC3618621  PMID: 23334994
17.  Current State of Type 1 Diabetes Immunotherapy: Incremental Advances, Huge Leaps, or More of the Same? 
Thus far, none of the preclinically successful and promising immunomodulatory agents for type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) has conferred stable, long-term insulin independence to diabetic patients. The majority of these immunomodulators are humanised antibodies that target immune cells or cytokines. These as well as fusion proteins and inhibitor proteins all share varying adverse event occurrence and severity. Other approaches have included intact putative autoantigens or autoantigen peptides. Considerable logistical outlays have been deployed to develop and to translate humanised antibodies targeting immune cells, cytokines, and cytokine receptors to the clinic. Very recent phase III trials with the leading agent, a humanised anti-CD3 antibody, call into question whether further development of these biologics represents a step forward or more of the same. Combination therapies of one or more of these humanised antibodies are also being considered, and they face identical, if not more serious, impediments and safety issues. This paper will highlight the preclinical successes and the excitement generated by phase II trials while offering alternative possibilities and new translational avenues that can be explored given the very recent disappointment in leading agents in more advanced clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3139873  PMID: 21785616
18.  Cholinergic Autoantibodies from Primary Sjögren's Syndrome Inhibit Mucin Production via Phospholipase C and Cyclooxygenase-2 In the Rat Submandibular Gland 
Dental Research Journal  2011;8(3):138-145.
Patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) produce functional IgG against cholinoreceptor of exocrine glands modifying their activity. The aim of the present work was to demonstrate pSS IgG antibodies (pSS IgG) interacting with M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChR) of rats submandibular glands that alter mucin release and production via phospholipase C (PLC) and cyclooxigenase-2 (COX-2) pathways.
Mucin release and production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and total inositol phosphates (InsP) were measured in rat submandibular gland in the presence of pSS IgG auto antibodies.
The auto antibodies interacting with M3 mAChR decreased mucin release and production through stimulation of PLC and COX-2. This stimulation leads to an incremental increase in InsP production and in PGE2 generation, inducing signalling through the prostaglandin membrane receptors subtype 2 (EP2). Moreover, the decrease in mucin production had negative correlation with PGE2 generation and InsP accumulation.
IgG in patients with pSS could play an important role in the pathoetiology of dry mouth, decreasing the salivary mucin through the production of proinflammatory substances and leading to the reduction in the protection of the oral tissues.
PMCID: PMC3177389  PMID: 22013477
Auto antibodies; InsP; mAChR; Mucin; PGE2; Submandibular gland
19.  The TRACTISS Protocol: a randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical TRial of Anti-B-Cell Therapy In patients with primary Sjögren’s Syndrome 
Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome (PSS) mainly affects women (9:1 female:male ratio) and is one of the commonest autoimmune diseases with a prevalence of 0.1 – 0.6% of adult women. For patients with PSS there is currently no effective therapy that can alter the progression of the disease. The aim of the TRACTISS study is to establish whether in patients with PSS, treatment with rituximab improves clinical outcomes.
TRACTISS is a UK multi-centre, double-blind, randomised, controlled, parallel group trial of 110 patients with PSS. Patients will be randomised on a 1:1 basis to receive two courses of either rituximab or placebo infusion in addition to standard therapy, and will be followed up for up to 48 weeks. The primary objective is to assess the extent to which rituximab improves symptoms of fatigue and oral dryness. Secondary outcomes include ocular dryness, salivary flow rates, lacrimal flow, patient quality of life, measures of disease damage and disease activity, serological and peripheral blood biomarkers, and glandular histology and composition.
The TRACTISS trial will provide direct evidence as to whether rituximab in patients with PSS leads to an improvement in patient symptoms and a reduction in disease damage and activity.
Trial registration
UKCRN Portfolio ID: 9809 ISRCTN65360827.
PMCID: PMC3937118  PMID: 24438039
Sjögren’s syndrome; Rituximab; Anti-B-cell; Double-blind; Placebo; Trial
20.  Diagnostic model of saliva peptide finger print analysis of primary Sjögren's syndrome patients by using weak cation exchange magnetic beads 
Bioscience Reports  2013;33(4):e00051.
Saliva diagnostics has become an attractive field utilizing nanotechnology and molecular technologies for pSS (primary Sjögren's syndrome). However, no specific methods have been established. To refine the diagnostic power of the saliva peptide finger print for the early detection of pSS, we screened the expression spectrum of salivary peptides in pSS patients by using mass spectrometry MALDI-TOF-MS (matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization-time-of-flight MS) combined with magnetic bead. The present study was comprised 12 pSS patients and 13 healthy controls and broken down to two different phases. In the initial ‘exploratory phase’, we enrolled seven pSS patients with eight age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers. Proteomics analysis of the unstimulated salivary samples was conducted to generate proportional peptide mass fingerprints. A diagnostic model was established. The testing cohort of the second ‘validation phase’ was represented by five pSS patients and five age- and sex-matched healthy controls. The diagnostic power of this diagnostic panel was then validated. The results showed seven m/z (mass-to-charge) ratio peaks with significant differences. Five peptides were up-regulated and two down-regulated in the pSS patients compared with matched healthy subjects. In the validation phase, four out of five pSS patients were diagnosed as pSS, and four of the five healthy controls were diagnosed as healthy controls, respectively. Potential biomarkers were also primarily predicted. The novel diagnostic proteomic model with m/z peaks 1068.1 Da, 1196.2 Da, 1738.4 Da, 3375.3 Da, 3429.3 Da, 3449.7 Da and 3490.6 Da is of certain value for early diagnosis of pSS.
PMCID: PMC3712486  PMID: 23682999
mass spectrum; peptidomics; salivary diagnostics; Sjogren’s syndrome (SS); weak cation exchange beads; MALDI-TOF-MS, matrix-assisted laser-desorption ionization-time-of-flight MS; PRP, proline-rich protein; pSS, primary Sjögren’s syndrome; sSS, secondary SS; WS, whole saliva; WCX, weak cation exchange
21.  A perspective on B-cell-targeting therapy for SLE 
In recent years, large controlled trials have tested several new agents for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Unfortunately, none of these trials has met its primary outcome. This does not mean progress has not been made. In fact, a great deal has been learned about doing clinical trials in lupus and about the biological and clinical effects of the drugs being tested. Many of these drugs were designed to target B cells directly, e.g., rituximab, belimumab, epratuzumab, and transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand interactor–immunoglobulin (TACI–Ig). The enthusiasm for targeting B cells derives from substantial evidence showing the critical role of B cells in murine models of SLE, as well promising results from multiple open trials with rituximab, a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that specifically depletes B cells (Martin and Chan in Immunity 20(5):517–527, 2004; Sobel et al. in J Exp Med 173:1441–1449, 1991; Silverman and Weisman in Arthritis Rheum 48:1484–1492, 2003; Silverman in Arthritis Rheum 52(4):1342, 2005; Shlomchik et al. in Nat Rev Immunol 1:147–153, 2001; Looney et al. in Arthritis Rheum 50:2580–2589, 2004; Lu et al. in Arthritis Rheum 61(4):482–487, 2009; Saito et al. in Lupus 12(10):798–800, 2003; van Vollenhoven et al. in Scand J Rheumatol 33(6):423–427, 2004; Sfikakis et al. Arthritis Rheum 52(2):501–513, 2005). Why have the controlled trials of B-cell-targeting therapies failed to demonstrate efficacy? Were there flaws in design or execution of these trials? Or, were promising animal studies and open trials misleading, as so often happens? This perspective discusses the current state of B-cell-targeting therapies for human lupus and the future development of these therapies.
PMCID: PMC3927150  PMID: 19669389
Atacicept; Belimumab; B lymphocytes; Bortezomib; Rituximab; Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
22.  Characterisation of a humanised bispecific monoclonal antibody for cancer therapy. 
British Journal of Cancer  1993;67(3):436-440.
A humanised bispecific monoclonal antibody (bsMAb) with binding specificity for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) on one arm and a radiolabelled chelate (DTPA-90Y) on the other arm was generated by consecutively transfecting the humanised genes of an anti-CEA MAb and the chimerised genes of an anti-chelate MAb into eucaryotic BHK cells using the calcium-phosphate coprecipitation technique. The antibodies secreted were of IgG3 isotype with a shortened hinge region (delta gamma 3) and light chains. Double transfectomas were screened for the secretion of bsMAbs using a double determinant enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on solid phase attached HSA-benzyl-DTPA and an anti-idiotypic MAb selective for the CEA-specific arm. After purification on two immunoaffinity chromatography columns, the humanised bsMAbs were characterised by SDS-PAGE and a quantitative binding assay in antigen excess. The purification procedure resulted in 95% reactive bispecific MAb. This humanised bsMAb may be employed in two phase radioimmunotherapy, binding to the tumour via the anti-CEA arm and localising a radiolabelled chelate with the other arm, without inducing a strong immune response observed sometimes with murine MAbs.
PMCID: PMC1968282  PMID: 8439495
23.  Treatment strategies for nodal and gastrointestinal follicular lymphoma: Current status and future development 
In recent years, therapies for follicular lymphoma (FL) have steadily improved. A series of phase III trials comparing the effect of rituximab with chemotherapy vs chemotherapy alone in treating FL have indicated significant improvements in progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival. Recent studies have found that prolonged response durations and PFS were obtained with maintenance therapy using rituximab or interferon after completion of first line therapy. For patients with relapsed or refractory FL, phase II studies have assessed the effectiveness of combination therapies using a Toll-like receptor-9 agonist (1018ISS), oblimersen sodium (a Bcl-2 antisense oligonucleotide), bendamustine, and rituximab, as well as veltuzumab, a new humanized anti-CD20 antibody, and epratuzumab. In addition, the effectiveness of yttrium-90 ibritumomab tiuxetan and iodine-131 tositumomab as radioimmunotherapies has been reported. Furthermore, three phase III studies on an idiotype vaccine are near completion. Unfortunately, these vaccines, which appeared highly effective in phase I and II trials, do not appear to result in prolonged PFS. This report will summarize the current knowledge on therapies for treatment of FL, and will conclude with a brief discussion of feasible future options for effective treatments. Lastly, we added descriptions of the management of gastrointestinal FL, which is considered to be controversial because it is rare.
PMCID: PMC2992672  PMID: 21105187
Anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (rituximab); Follicular lymphoma; Idiotype vaccines; Immunoradiotherapy; Treatment strategies
24.  Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies in primary Sjögren syndrome may be associated with non-erosive synovitis 
The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP) in patients with primary Sjögren syndrome (pSS) and its correlation with clinical and laboratory data.
We analysed the clinical and serological data of 155 consecutive patients with pSS. Among these, 14 were excluded due to fulfillment of American College of Rheumatology criteria for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). So, 141 patients (27 males and 114 females; mean age 48 years, range 39 to 60) were clinically assessed for the presence of synovitis (objective swelling of one or more joints) and extra-glandular involvement. The anti-CCP antibodies were tested using a commercially available second-generation enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. IgM rheumatoid factor (RF) was determined by nephelometry.
Fourteen patients (9.9%) had moderate to high levels of anti-CCP, and 94 (66.7%) were positive for RF. Eighty-one (57.4%) showed extra-glandular involvement, and 44 (31.2%) had synovitis without any radiographic sign of erosion. There was a close correlation between the presence of anti-CCP and synovitis (P < 0.001) but no association between anti-CCP and extra-glandular involvement (P = 0.77). Multivariate analysis confirmed the association between anti-CCP and an increased prevalence of synovitis (prevalence odds ratio for positive versus negative anti-CCP status 7.611, 95% confidence interval 1.475 to 74.870; P = 0.010).
Only a minority of patients with pSS are anti-CCP-positive, which seems to be closely associated with the prevalence of synovitis. Anti-CCP positivity in patients with pSS therefore may be a predictor of future progress to RA or an expression of the inflammatory process of synovial tissue.
PMCID: PMC2483440  PMID: 18462485
25.  Safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of an anti- oncostatin M monoclonal antibody in rheumatoid arthritis: results from phase II randomized, placebo-controlled trials 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R132.
Oncostatin M (OSM) has been implicated in the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) through its effect on inflammation and joint damage. GSK315234 is a humanised anti-OSM Immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) monoclonal antibody (mAb). This 3-part study examines the safety, tolerability and efficacy of GSK315234 in patients with active RA.
This was a 3-part (Parts A, B and C), multicenter study. Part A and Part B were randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, Bayesian adaptive dose finding studies to investigate the safety, tolerability, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of single (Part A) and 3 repeat (Part B) intravenous infusions of GSK315234 in patients with active RA on a background of methotrexate (MTX). Part C was a single dose, randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess subcutaneously administered GSK315234 to patients with active RA on a background of MTX.
The primary endpoint of the study was mean change in DAS28 at Day 28 in Part A and Day 56 in Part B and C. All patients receiving at least one dose of GSK315234 were included in safety analysis. In Part A, there were statistically significant differences in DAS28 between 3 mg/kg and placebo at Day 56, 84 and 91. There was also a statistically significant difference in DAS28 between 0.3 mg/kg, 3 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg, as compared to placebo, at Day 84. Although these changes were small and occurred late, they supported progression to Part B and C to determine the therapeutic potential of GSK315234. For Part B, no significant difference was observed between 6 mg/kg and placebo. For Part C, a statistically significant difference in DAS28 was observed at Day 40, Day 84 and Day 100 between the 500 mg subcutaneous group, as compared to placebo. No significant findings were observed at any of the time points for EULAR response criteria, ACR20, ACR50 or ACR70. An exploratory analysis of clinical, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics data suggests the lack of efficacy may be due to moderate binding affinity and rapid off-rate of GSK315234 as compared to the higher affinity OSM receptor causing a protein carrier effect prolonging the half life of OSM due to accumulation of the OSM/antibody complex in the serum and synovial fluid.
Our data highlighted the importance of binding affinity and off-rate effect of a mAb to fully neutralize the target and how this may influence its efficacy and potentially worsen disease activity. Using an anti-OSM mAb with high affinity should test this hypothesis and examine the potential of OSM as a therapeutic target in RA.
Trial registration no: NCT00674635
PMCID: PMC3978888  PMID: 24286335

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