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Editorial

B-cell depletion with rituximab: a promising treatment for diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis

Jacob M van Laar

Author Affiliations

Musculoskeletal Research Group, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, 4th Floor, Cookson Building, The Medical School, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HH, UK

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2010, 12:112  doi:10.1186/ar2977


See related research by Bosello et al., http://arthritis-research.com/content/12/2/R54

Published: 22 April 2010

Abstract

Recent preclinical and clinical studies lend support to the notion that B-cell depletion is a promising therapeutic target in patients with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis. A recent open-label trial provides further evidence showing marked effects of rituximab treatment on skin thickening, functional ability, and disease activity in conjunction with effects on lesional and circulating B cells and on interleukin-6 and BAFF (B-cell activating factor of tumor necrosis factor family). The excellent safety profile of rituximab in this and other trials warrants further well-designed clinical trials in larger patient groups combined with comprehensive biomarker studies.