Pilot clinical study of Adacolumn cytapheresis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus
The aim of this study is to investigate the clinical effects of cytapheresis using the Adacolumn system (selective removal of circulating monocytes and granulocytes by means of an extracorporeal type column) in patients with active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). An open uncontrolled multicenter pilot study was conducted in 18 SLE patients who were showing a SLEDAI score of 8 or more under conventional medication. Patients with lupus nephritis (>class 1, WHO classification) were excluded. Extracorporeal cytapheresis with the Adacolumn system was administered once a week for five consecutive weeks. The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated using the SLEDAI for 10 weeks after the first cytapheresis session. The median SLEDAI decreased from 16 at baseline to six at week 11 (10 weeks after the first apheresis) (p<0.001). Significant improvements in musculoskeletal and dermal systems were observed. Arthritis and alopecia were present in 14 and nine patients at baseline and this number decreased to five and one patients, respectively by week 11. Three mild and one moderate adverse events out of the 42 reported events were judged ‘probably related’ to the treatment; no serious adverse events were reported. Selective removal of monocytes and granulocytes from the blood in an extracorporeal circulation system was associated with clinical improvement in this small series of patients with SLE. Since this approach seems not to have the disadvantages of pharmacological immunosuppression, further controlled studies of Adacolumn cytapheresis are warranted in SLE.
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