Scientific corner

P582 Combination of granulocyte–monocyte apheresis and ustekinumab: multicentre and retrospective study

I Rodríguez-Lago, C Herrera-deGuise, M Boscá-Watts, C Rodríguez, E Leo, M Calvo, F Cañete, S Chacón, C Cuarán, A Elorza, E Guerra, E Iglesias, D Sánchez, M Barreiro-de Acosta, D Ginard, J L Cabriada Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis, Volume 18, Issue Supplement_1, January 2024, Page i1135,

Granulocyte–monocyte apheresis (GMA) selectively removes activated leukocytes and immune mediators, and it has shown to be safe and effective in treating ulcerative colitis (UC). Previous reports have also described its combination with biologics, mainly with anti-TNF.

The aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical efficacy and safety of combining GMA after primary non-response (PNR) or loss of response (LOR) to ustekinumab (UST) in patients with UC. A retrospective, multicentric study was performed in 12 IBD Units, including all patients with refractory UC who received combined GMA plus UST. The number of GMA sessions, its frequency, filtered blood volume and time of each session were compiled, along with the clinical data. Efficacy was assessed 1 and 6 months after finishing the GMA by partial Mayo score, CRP and faecal calprotectin. Data regarding UST intensification, need for new immunomodulators/biologics and surgery were also compiled. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were used in the statistical analysis.

Nineteen patients were included (15 UC, 2 Crohn’s disease, 2 unclassified IBD; median age 48 years (IQR, 36-63); 68% male). At baseline, 78% were receiving steroids and 23% immunomodulators. Most patients (89%) had prior exposure to anti-TNF agents and 53% to vedolizumab. Baseline Mayo score was 6.5 (IQR, 5-7), with a median CRP of 9 mg/L (IQR, 4.8-20.8) and faecal calprotectin 1,612 mg/kg (IQR, 873-4,152). GMA was started mostly after PNR in 83%, the median number of GMA sessions was 16 (IQR, 11-27) and 50% of patients started maintenance GMA. Partial Mayo score significantly decreased 6 months after the last GMA session (p=0.019). During follow-up, 27% started a new biologic therapy and 13% required surgery. 64% of patients under steroids at baseline were able to stop them. Adverse events were reported in 5% of patients.

GMA can safely recapture the response to UST in refractory patients after PNR or LOR to this drug.

Scientific corner

Apheresis: A cell-based therapeutic tool for the inflammatory bowel disease

Farah Yasmin 1Hala Najeeb 1Unaiza Naeem 1Abdul Moeed 1Thoyaja Koritala 2Salim Surani 3 4World J Clin Cases. 2022 Jul 26;10(21):7195-7208.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a hallmark of leukocyte infiltration, followed by the release of cytokines and interleukins. Disease progression to Ulcerative Colitis (UC) or Crohn’s Disease (CD) remained largely incurable. The genetic and environmental factors disrupt enteral bacteria in the gut, which hampers the intestinal repairing capability of damaged mucosa. Commonly practiced pharmacological therapies include 5-aminosalicylic acid with corticosteroids and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. New interventions such as CDP571 and TNF-blocking RDP58 report the loss of patient response. This review discusses the non-pharmacologic selective granulocyte-monocyte-apheresis (GMA) and leukocytapheresis (LCAP) that have been proposed as treatment modalities that reduce mortality. GMA, an extracorporeal vein-to-vein technique, presents a strong safety profile case for its use as a viable therapeutic option compared to GMA’s conventional medication safety profile. GMA reported minimal to no side effects in the pediatric population and pregnant women. Numerous studies report the efficacious nature of GMA in UC patients, whereas data on CD patients is insufficient. Its benefits outweigh the risks and are emerging as a favored non-pharmacological treatment option. On the contrary, LCAP uses a general extracorporeal treatment that entraps leukocytes and suppresses cytokine release. It has been deemed more efficacious than conventional drug treatments, the former causing better disease remission, and maintenance. Patients with UC/CD secondary to complications have responded well to the treatment. Side effects of the procedure have remained mild to moderate, and there is little evidence of any severe adverse event occurring in most age groups. LCAP decreases the dependence on steroids and immunosuppressive therapies for IBD. The review will discuss the role of GMA and LCAP.

Apheresis: A cell-based therapeutic tool for the inflammatory bowel disease – PubMed (

Apheresis: A cell-based therapeutic tool for the inflammatory bowel disease – PMC (

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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