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1.  Effectiveness and safety of the interleukin 6-receptor antagonist tocilizumab after 4 and 24 weeks in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis: the first phase IIIb real-life study (TAMARA) 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2010;70(5):755-759.
To confirm the effectiveness and safety of the interleukin 6-receptor antagonist tocilizumab in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a setting close to real-life medical care in Germany.
A multicentre open-label phase IIIb study was undertaken. Patients with active RA with a 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28) >3.2 despite previous disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) were treated with tocilizumab 8 mg/kg every 4 weeks. The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving LDAS ≤3.2 at week 24; secondary end points included American College of Rheumatology (ACR), European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) or Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) responses and decrease in acute phase. Analyses in subgroups such as rheumatoid factor (RF)-positive versus RF-negative patients and patients with an inadequate response to treatment with DMARDs (DMARD-IR) versus those with an inadequate response to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) antagonists (TNF antagonist-IR) were performed. Safety was assessed by adverse event documentation.
286 patients were treated and 83.6% completed the study. 41.6% had previously been treated with TNF antagonists. 57% of the intention-to-treat patients achieved the primary end point of LDAS, 47.6% achieved DAS remission <2.6 and a EULAR ‘good response’ was achieved by 54.9%; ACR50/70 response rates at week 24 were 50.7% and 33.9%, respectively. The mean±SD decrease in CDAI from baseline to week 24 was 71±29%. C reactive protein levels normalised rapidly within 1 week. Major improvements in fatigue, pain and morning stiffness were observed in the first 4 weeks and further improved until week 24. DAS28, EULAR and ACR responses at week 24 did not differ between RF-positive and RF-negative patients. TNF antagonist-naive patients responded better than patients who had previously failed on TNF antagonists. The safety profile of tocilizumab was comparable to that previously observed in the phase III trial programme. Serious infections were observed in 3.1% of patients.
Tocilizumab is highly effective in a setting close to real-life medical care with a rapid and sustained improvement in signs and symptoms of RA. A manageable safety profile was seen over the 24-week study period.
PMCID: PMC3070275  PMID: 21187298
2.  Two year maintenance of efficacy and safety of infliximab in the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;64(2):229-234.
Objective: To obtain results of the second year extension of an original 3 month randomised, placebo controlled trial (and the 1 year extension study) assessing the use of infliximab, a monoclonal antibody to tumour necrosis factor α, for the treatment of patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
Methods: Of the 54 patients with AS who completed the first year of the study, 52 continued to receive infliximab 5 mg/kg every 6 weeks up to week 102. The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving at least 50% improvement from baseline in the Bath AS Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) at week 102. Other assessments included patient and physician global assessments, quality of life as assessed by Short Form-36, Bath AS Functional Index, Bath AS Metrology Index, and C reactive protein (CRP).
Results: Improvement in signs and symptoms of AS seen during the first year of the study was sustained during the second year. Forty nine patients (71% of 69 enrolled patients and 49/52 (94%) patients who started year 2) completed the study up to week 102. Thirty (58%) patients achieved at least 50% improvement from baseline in the BASDAI score at week 102. Scores for other efficacy assessments were similar at weeks 54 and 102. Median CRP levels remained low at weeks 54 and 102 (3.9 and 4.3 mg/l, respectively). Side effects during the second year of the study were similar to those of the first year of treatment with infliximab.
Conclusions: Patients with AS treated for 2 years with infliximab 5 mg/kg exhibited a good and durable clinical response.
PMCID: PMC1755337  PMID: 15388511
3.  Treatment of ankylosing spondylitis with infliximab 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2001;60(12):1159-1160.
PMCID: PMC1753442  PMID: 11760727
4.  A patient-derived cytotoxic T-lymphocyte clone and two peptide-dependent monoclonal antibodies recognize HLA-B27-peptide complexes with low stringency for peptide sequences. 
Infection and Immunity  1996;64(1):120-127.
HLA-B27 molecules expressed on the T2 mutant cell line do not have peptides. Such empty HLA-B27 molecules were not recognized by an HLA-B27-restricted cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) clone (auto-1) derived from synovial fluid. To test for peptide dependency of the clone, B27-T2 cells were incubated with a panel of 48 different peptides. This lack of stringency was compared with that of a peptide-dependent monoclonal antibody, B27.M2. Positive B27.M2 reactivity resulted when the B27-T2 cells were incubated with two peptides: RRKAMFEDI and RRMGPPVGHR, derived from Chlamydia HSP60 and human ribonucleoprotein, respectively. Because of the limited availability of CTL versus monoclonal antibody, the specificity of B27.M2 was studied in greater detail. The importance of the HLA-B27 heavy chain in antibody recognition of class I-peptide complexes was demonstrated by site-directed mutagenesis. The stringency of the peptide residues was tested by making analogs of each of the nine residues in RRKAMFEDI, creating a panel of 180 analogs. Although stringency was highest for the sixth position, as many as six different amino acids provided positive reactivity. These results indicate that immune recognition of HLA-B27-peptide complexes might have rather low stringency for the peptide sequences. In theory, then, pathogen-derived peptides which induce autoimmunity by generating autoreactive CTL might not share much sequence similarity with the responsible self peptides.
PMCID: PMC173736  PMID: 8557329
5.  Serum antibodies from patients with ankylosing spondylitis and Reiter's syndrome are reactive with HLA-B27 cells transfected with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis hsp60 gene. 
Infection and Immunity  1994;62(2):484-491.
HLA-B27-related arthritis is probably mediated by an immune response against HLA-B27 complexed with peptides derived from proteins of arthritis-causing bacteria. Immunogenic proteins with a high degree of homology among bacteria, such as in the hsp60 family, are likely candidates. To create such complexes experimentally, we transfected an HLA-B27 cell line with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis hsp60 gene. Because of previous observations that HLA-B27-peptide complexes can be distinguished by antibodies, we tested the transfected cell line with a panel of sera from 24 HLA-B27+ arthritis patients. Significant antibodies were detected in at least eight of the sera. Several cell lines and peptides were used as negative controls to ensure that the antibody reactivity was specific to HLA-B27-peptide complexes. A panel of nine peptides derived from the sequence of the Mycobacterium hsp60 were synthesized and tested. At least three were identified as being responsible for the serological activities.
PMCID: PMC186133  PMID: 7905462

Results 1-5 (5)