Scientific corner

Selective granulocyte and monocyte apheresis as a non-pharmacological option for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Gerda C Leitner 1Nina WorelHarald Vogelsang, Transfus Med Hemother. 2012 Aug;39(4):246-252.

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two most prevalent inflammatory bowel diseases. In both cases, the medically refractory and steroid-dependent type presents a therapeutic challenge. To help resolve this problem, a mainly Japanese team developed a new therapeutic option. There are two systems, both of which are able to selectively remove the main mediators of the disease, namely the activated pro-inflammatory cytokine-producing granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages, from the patient’s blood circulation (GMA = granulocyte monocyte apheresis). One of the two systems is the Adacolumn( (®) ) (Immunoresearch Laboratories, Takasaki, Japan) consisting of the ADA-monitor and a single-use column, which contains approximately 35,000 cellulose acetate beads. The exact mode of action is not yet sufficiently understood, but however, a modulation of the immune system takes place. As a result, less pro-inflammatory cytokines are released. Furthermore, the production of anti-inflammatory interleukin-1 receptor antagonist is increased, and the apoptosis of granulocytes boosted. The decreased LECAM-1-expression on leukocytes impedes the leukotaxis to the inflamed tissue, and CD10-negative immature granulocytes appear in the peripheral blood. Another effect to be mentioned is the removal of the peripheral dendritic cells and the leachate of regulatory T cells (T-regs). The second system is the Cellsorba( (®) ) FX Filter (Asahi Medical, Tokyo, Japan). The range of efficiency, the indication, and the procedure are very similar to the Adacolumn. Solely the additional removal of lymphocytes can possibly limit the implementation since lymphopenia can increase the risk of autoimmune disease. Both systems provide a low-risk therapy with few adverse reactions. ASFA recommendations for GMA in inflammatory bowel disease are 2B due to the fact that not enough randomized double-blind studies are available to proof the efficacy of this treatment.

Scientific corner

Current and emerging drugs for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease

John K TriantafillidisEmmanuel Merikas, and Filippos Georgopoulos Drug Des Devel Ther. 2011; 5: 185–210. doi: 10.2147/DDDT.S11290

During the last decade a large number of biological agents against tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), as well as many biochemical substances and molecules specifically for the medical treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), have been developed. This enormous progress was a consequence of the significant advances in biotechnology along with the increased knowledge of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of IBD. However, conventional therapies remain the cornerstone of treatment for most patients. During recent years conventional and biologic IBD therapies have been optimized. Newer mesalazine formulations with a reduced pill size and only one dose per day demonstrate similar efficacy to older formulations. New corticosteroids retain the efficacy of older corticosteroids while exhibiting a higher safety profile. The role of antibiotics and probiotics has been further clarified. Significant progress in understanding thiopurine metabolism has improved the effective dose along with adjunctive therapies. Quite a large number of substances and therapies, including biologic agents other than TNF-α inhibitors, unfractionated or low-molecular-weight heparin, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, microbes and microbial products, leukocytapheresis, and other substances under investigation, could offer important benefits to our patients. In this paper we review the established and emerging therapeutic strategies in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

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