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Therapy for severe vasculitis shows long-term effectiveness
Date:7/31/2013

Administering the drug rituximab once weekly for one month provides the same benefits as 18 months of daily immunosuppressive therapy in people with severe forms of vasculitis, or inflammation of the blood vessels, a study has found.

Researchers from the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), an international clinical trials group funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that rituximab is as effective as the standard therapy at inducing and maintaining disease remission. The findings appear in the August 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In addition to these important results, the online version of the study is the first to contain direct links to TrialShare (https://www.itntrialshare.org/), a new data analysis and sharing portal developed and managed by the ITN. The website provides access to the study's raw data and statistical analyses, allowing researchers to re-analyze the data and develop new hypotheses. As of this writing, TrialShare houses data from eight ITN clinical studies.

The current trial included participants with severe granulomatosis with polyangiitis, formerly known as Wegener's granulomatosis, and microscopic polyangiitis. In the United States, approximately 6,000 people are diagnosed with these diseases each year. Those who suffer from these rare autoimmune diseasestermed anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitidesproduce antibodies that attack immune cells called neutrophils, causing inflammation in small- to medium-sized blood vessels. This leads to potentially life-threatening organ damage, particularly in the airways, lungs and kidneys. The current standard of care, developed four decades ago by NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., and colleagues and subsequently modified by other investigators, involves a three- to six-mont
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Contact: Hillary Hoffman or Linda Huynh
niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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