Treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus with epratuzumab

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Systemic lupus erythematosus is a prototypic autoimmune disease characterized by abnormalities in the activity of B-cells and T-cells. A novel specific treatment for autoimmune diseases is B-cell depletion with monoclonal antibodies. Epratuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD22 antigen on B-cells. Initial phase II and two terminated early phase III studies suggest that treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus with this immunomodulatory agent is effective, well tolerated and significantly improves the patient's quality of life. In vitro studies and clinical trials with non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients indicate epratuzumab can potentially serve as a complementary drug in combination therapy with another inhibitor of B-cell activity, rituximab, which is a monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody.

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