The effects of rituximab on serum IgE and BAFF
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BACKGROUND: There are few treatment options for patients with severe atopic asthma. Antagonism of IgE is an effective strategy. We investigated, by utilizing serum samples from a clinical trial of Rituximab in patients with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, if B cell depletion would decrease serum IgE and therefore be a potential therapeutic option. FINDINGS: In a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of Rituximab, an anti-CD20 molecule, there were no significant differences in serum levels of IgE or BAFF levels between the two treatment groups at 3 or 6 months irrespective of the baseline serum IgE levels. CONCLUSIONS: Since Rituximab did not significantly decrease serum IgE levels, this proof of concept study suggests that Rituximab may not be a useful treatment strategy for patients with severe IgE mediated disease.
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