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Immune responses to tetanus vaccine unchanged for RA patients on rituximab
Date:1/6/2010

ey received MTX alone or rituximab in combination with MTX.

Patients treated only with MTX had a greater response to the pneumonia vaccine compared with those also receiving rituximab. Researchers found that only 57% of patients treated with rituximab had a response to one type of pneumococcal vaccine (Pneumovax) compared with 82% of MTX-only patients.

The ability to maintain a positive delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to the Candida albicans skin test was comparable in both groups with 77.4% of rituximab-treated patients and 70% of MTX-only patients responding. "Our study, the first to examine DTH responses, confirmed that rituximab had no incremental effect on the patient's ability to mount a DTH response," said Dr. Bingham.

Treatment with rituximab produces a rapid depletion of B cells from the circulation, impacting the body's immune function. This depleted B cell pool begins to recover approximately 6-9 months after the initial treatment with rituximab. In his editorial also published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, E. William St. Clair, M.D. from Duke University Medical Center highlighted the need for further research into the effects of rituximab treatment.

"Further studies similar to Bingham et al are necessary to understand the complex effects of rituximab therapy on immune responses," noted Dr. St. Clair. "This study only evaluated immunization responses approximately 6 months after rituximab was administered; the responses at earlier time points, based on animal studies and its mechanism of action, may have been further attenuated," St. Clair added.


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Contact: Dawn Peters
medicalnews@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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