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עמוד בית
Fri, 31.05.24

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July 2020
Fulvia Ceccarelli MD PhD, Enrica Cipriano MD, Francesco Natalucci MD, Carlo Perricone MD PhD, Giulio Olivieri MD, Valeria Orefice MD, Francesca Morello MD, Cristiano Alessandri MD, Francesca R. Spinelli MD PhD and Fabrizio Conti MD

Background: Belimumab was the first biological drug approved for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients. Phase II/III randomized controlled trials and real-life studies identified patients with musculoskeletal involvement as best responders.

Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of belimumab in SLE-related joint involvement.

Methods: The cohort comprised SLE patients receiving belimumab for musculoskeletal indications. Belimumab was intravenously administrated according to protocols; all the patients were evaluated at baseline (T0) and after 3 (T1), 6 (T2), and 12 (T3) months. We assessed joint activity by disease activity score 28, simple disease activity index (SDAI), clinical disease activity index (CDAI), and swollen tender ratio. Each patient underwent musculoskeletal ultrasound of 34 joints to assess synovial effusion synovial hypertrophy, and power Doppler; by using a semi-quantitative scale (0–3) we obtained the total inflammatory score (0–216).

Results: We evaluated 20 patients (males/females 1/19, median age 45 years [interquartile range (IQR) 12], median disease duration 144 months [IQR 144]). CDAI and SDAI significantly decreased at T1 (P = 0.02 and P = 0.01 respectively) and this improvement was maintained at the following time-points (CDAI: T2 P = 0.008, T3 P = 0.004; SDAI: T2 P = 0.006, T3 P = 0.01). A significant reduction of median ultrasound score was identified at T1 (T0 20.5 [IQR 13.5] vs. T1 7.5 [IQR 4.7], P < 0.001), and maintained at T2 (7.0 [IQR 5], P < 0.0001), and T3 (7.0 [IQR 9.0], P < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Belimumab induces a sustained improvement of ultrasound-detected inflammatory status at the articular level.

September 2017
Alessia Alunno MD PhD, Francesco Carubbi MD PhD, Onelia Bistoni BSc, Elena Bartoloni MD, Valentina Valentini MD and Roberto Gerli MD

Primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) is a chronic autoimmune disease mainly affecting exocrine glands. However, a subgroup of patients experiences extraglandular manifestations which worsens disease prognosis. To date evidence based guidelines for the management of pSS are lacking, hence the therapeutic approach is mainly based on expert opinion and data from other connective tissue diseases. In recent years, several studies have explored the efficacy and safety of biologic agents in pSS and after the failure of tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, the attention has been focused on compounds directly targeting B or T lymphocytes. The aim of this review article is to provide an overview of available data about B and T cell targeting in pSS and of future directions based on ongoing trials. 

January 2017
Zev Sthoeger MD, Margalit Lorber MD, Yuval Tal MD, Elias Toubi MD, Howard Amital MD, Shaye Kivity MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Ilan Asher MD, Daniel Elbirt MD and Nancy Agmon Levin MD

Background: Anti-BLyS treatment with the human belimumab monoclonal antibody was shown to be a safe and effective therapeutic modality in lupus patients with active disease (i.e., without significant neurological/renal involvement) despite standard treatment.

Objectives: To evaluate the “real-life” safety and efficacy of belimumab added to standard therapy in patents with active lupus in five Israeli medical centers.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective open-labeled study of 36 lupus patients who received belimumab monthly for at least 1 year in addition to standard treatment. Laboratory tests (C3/C4, anti dsDNA autoantibodies, chemistry, urinalysis and complete blood count) were done every 3–4 months. Adverse events were obtained from patients’ medical records. Efficacy assessment by the treating physicians was defined as excellent, good/partial, or no response.

Results: The study group comprised 36 lupus patients (8 males, 28 females) with a mean age of 41.6 } 12.2 years. Belimumab was given for a mean period of 2.3 } 1.7 years (range 1–7). None of the patients discontinued belimumab due to adverse events. Four patients (11.1%) had an infection related to belimumab. Only 5 patients (13.9%) stopped taking belimumab due to lack of efficacy. The response was excellent in 25 patients (69.5%) and good/partial in the other 6 (16.6%). Concomitantly, serological response (reduction of C3/C4 and anti-dsDNA autoantibodies) was also observed. Moreover, following belimumab treatment, there was a significant reduction in the usage of corticosteroids (from 100% to 27.7%) and immunosuppressive agents (from 83.3% to 8.3%).

Conclusions: Belimumab, in addition to standard therapy, is a safe and effective treatment for active lupus patients.

February 2015
Daphna Paran MD and Yaakov Naparstek MD
In the past decade we have witnessed a dramatic change in the management of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathies, due to the development of new biologic drugs designed to target key mediators in the autoimmune process. However, the development of similar target-specific drugs for the management of SLE has not been as successful. The B cell has long been considered central to the pathogenesis of SLE and has been regarded as an important target for biologic drugs. Several B cell-targeted drugs have been developed and although the mechanisms seem promising, most of the studies published to date have failed to achieve their primary endpoints, leading to an ongoing debate regarding the role of B cell therapy in SLE. The present report discusses the pros and cons of B cell-targeted therapy in SLE, reviews the clinical studies, and offers possible explanations for the discrepancies between randomized control studies and real-life experience. 

 
October 2014
Laura Andreoli MD, Rossella Reggia MD, Lara Pea MD, Micol Frassi MD, Alessandra Zanola PhD, Stefania Cartella MD, Franco Franceschini MD and Angela Tincani MD
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