Therapeutic Granulomonocytapheresis as a Non-pharmacologic Treatment Option for Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Efficacy Reports on a Wide Age Range and Disease Profile
The major phenotypes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) include ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), which cause debilitating symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and fever. Patients require life-long immunosuppressive medications, which cause adverse side effects as additional morbidity factors. However, IBD is initiated and perpetuated by inflammatory cytokines, and given that in patients with IBD myeloid lineage leukocytes are elevated with activation behavior and release inflammatory cytokines, selective depletion of elevated granulocytes and monocytes by granulomonocytapheresis is a relevant therapeutic option for IBD patients. Therefore, a column filled with specially designed beads as granulomonocytapheresis carriers for selective adsorption of myeloid lineage leukocytes (Adacolumn) has been applied to treat patients with active IBD. Patients receive up to 10 granulomonocytapheresis sessions at one or two sessions per week. During each session, the carriers adsorb up to 60% of the myeloid leukocytes from the blood that passes through the granulomonocytapheresis column. Efficacy rates in the UC setting have been as high as 85% in steroid-naïve patients, and 100% in drug-naïve, first-episode cases, but patients with a long duration of active IBD and extensive colonic lesions that have become refractory to pharmacological treatment have not responded well. However, granulomonocytapheresis has a favorable safety profile. Given that immunosuppressive medications used to treat IBD potentially may increase the risk of severe viral infection, non-drug granulomonocytapheresis should be a favorable treatment strategy. Further, by targeting granulomonocytapheresis to patients with background features and identifying a patient as a likely responder, futile use of medical resources is avoided.
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