Scientific corner

Selective leukocyte apheresis for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease

Maria T Abreu 1Scott PlevyBruce E SandsRobert Weinstein, J Clin Gastroenterol. Nov-Dec 2007;41(10):874-88.

The etiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is not completely understood, thus current therapies have been empirical and directed at treating symptoms rather than addressing the cause. In IBD, the overexpression of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1beta, interleukin-6, leads to a persistent intestinal inflammatory response that damages the intestinal mucosa. Recent advances in pharmacologic therapies that target specific cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules have proved successful in alleviating symptoms for some patients. There are 2 selective adsorption apheresis devices that remove leukocytes from whole blood, which are currently available in Japan and Europe-the Cellsorba leukocytapheresis column and the Adacolumn adsorptive extracorporeal granulocyte/monocyte apheresis device. The purported mechanisms of action of these devices have been extensively reviewed and are believed to exert an immunomodulatory and/or anti-inflammatory effect on patients with systemic inflammatory disease.The clinical trials presented here indicate that selective leukocyte apheresis effectively removes activated granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages from peripheral blood while maintaining an excellent safety profile. Despite these findings, large controlled trials of selective leukocyte apheresis in the treatment of IBD are needed to determine the true efficacy of this approach.

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