Scientific corner

The logics of leukocytapheresis as a natural biological therapy for inflammatory bowel disease

Takanori Kanai 1Toshifumi HibiMamoru Watanabe, Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2006 May;6(5):453-66.

 Ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) are debilitating idiopathic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) with symptoms that impair ability to function and quality of life. The aetiology of IBD is inadequately understood and, therefore, drug therapy has been empirical instead of based on sound understanding of the disease mechanisms. This has been a major factor for poor drug efficacy and treatment-related side effects that often add to disease complications. The development of biologicals, notably infliximab, to block TNF-alpha reflects some progress, but there is major concern about their side effects and lack of long-term safety and efficacy profiles. However, IBD by its very nature is exacerbated and perpetuated by inflammatory cytokines, including TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-12, for which activated peripheral blood lymphocytes, monocytes/macrophages and granulocytes are major sources. Hence, activated leukocytes should be appropriate targets of therapy. At present, three strategies are available for removing excess and activated leukocytes by leukocytapheresis: centrifugation, Adacolumn and Cellsorba. Centrifugation can deplete lymphocytes or total leukocytes, whereas Adacolumn selectively adsorbs granulocytes and monocytes together with a smaller fraction of lymphocytes (FcgammaR- and complement receptor-bearing leukocytes), and Cellsorba non-selectively removes all three major leukocyte populations. Efficacy has ranged from ‘none’ to an impressive 93% together with excellent safety profiles and downmodulation of inflammation factors. Furthermore, leukocytapheresis has shown strong drug-sparing effects and reduced the number of patients requiring colectomy or exposure to unsafe immunosuppressants, such as cyclosporin A. Leukocytapheresis removes from the body cells that contribute to IBD and, therefore, unlike drugs, it is not expected to induce dependency or refractoriness.

Scientific corner

Developments in the apheresis procedure for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease

Alvaro A Pineda 1 , Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2006 Jan;12 Suppl 1:S10-4.

Initially used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, nonselective therapeutic leukocytapheresis was applied to the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) as early as the 1980s. Since then, the process has been further refined and 2 blood perfusion systems using membrane filtration are presently employed in Japan and Europe for the selective removal of leukocytes in patients with IBD: Cellsorba is a column of polyethylenephtarate fibers that captures lymphocytes and granulocytes, and Adacolumn is a column of cellulose acetate beads that selectively adsorb granulocytes and monocytes. These systems overcome the limitations of centrifugation. Leukocytapheresis has been shown to exert an overall anti-inflammatory effect, as peripheral leukocytes demonstrated a diminished capacity to produce inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-1beta. In addition, down-regulation in the expression of adhesion molecule L-selectin and a shift toward a more immature granulocyte phenotype were observed in the peripheral blood. The safety and beneficial therapeutic effect of leukocytapheresis in IBD are being investigated further.

Scientific corner

Immunomodulatory therapy for inflammatory bowel disease

Kazuo Kusugami 1Kenji InaTakafumi AndoKenji HibiYuji NishioHidemi Goto, J Gastroenterol. 2004 Dec;39(12):1129-37.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have intestinal and extraintestinal symptoms that can greatly impair their quality of life. They must rely on multiple medications with aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and purine analogues to control these symptoms. Although decades of clinical experience in IBD management has led to optimized approaches for achieving the induction and maintenance of remission, the disease in some patients is still refractory to conventional medical treatment, or the effectiveness of these drugs can be limited by treatment-related side effects. Significant progress in our understanding of the pathogenesis of IBD has yielded several immunomodulatory approaches with novel biological agents or apparatus, such as cyclosporine, cytoprotective agents, infliximab, and leukocytapheresis. Further immunomodulatoy therapy, aiming at the inhibition of molecular and cellular mediators, is anticipated, in parallel with the clarification of immunoinflammatory pathways in IBD. An additional goal will be to identify factors predictive of response to treatment with each novel immunomodulatory agent or apparatus. This will help provide each patient with optimized and individualized therapy, thereby increasing therapeutic efficacy and reducing possible side effects.

Scientific corner

Granulocyte adsorptive apheresis for pediatric patients with ulcerative colitis

Takeshi Tomomasa 1Akio KobayashiHiroaki KanekoSasaki MikaShun-Ichi MaisawaYoshie ChinoHohkibara SyouAtsushi YodenJyunko FujinoMakoto TanikawaTakafumi YamashitaShigeru KimuraMaiko KanohKoji SawadaAkihiro Morikawa

Dig Dis Sci. 2003 Apr;48(4):750-4. doi: 10.1023/a:1022892927121.

Granulocytapheresis (GCAP) has produced efficacy in adult patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) by adsorbing activated granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages. We retrospectively investigated efficacy and safety of GCAP in pediatric patients with active UC. Twelve steroid-refractory children (12.2 +/- 3.1 years old) were treated with GCAP, one session/week for 5-10 consecutive weeks. In 8 patients, clinical symptoms improved after two GCAP sessions. Normal body temperature, stool frequency, and disappearance of blood in stool were seen after 24.3 +/- 11.5 days. The endoscopic grade improved from 2.6 +/- 0.3 to 0.4 +/- 0.2. One patient who initially responded, developed bloody diarrhea later and 2 cases remained unchanged. The dose of steroid was tapered during GCAP therapy by 50%. No serious adverse effects were noted. Four of 8 cases relapsed 3.5 +/- 2.2 months after the last GCAP while on maintenance therapy, the other 4 were in remission up to 22.8 +/- 18.1 months. In conclusion, GCAP appears to be effective and well tolerated in children with steroid-refractory UC.

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