High Sustained Antibody Titers in Patients with Classic Infantile Pompe Disease Following Immunomodulation at Start of Enzyme Replacement Therapy

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ObjectiveTo evaluate whether immunomodulation at start of enzyme replacement therapy induces immune tolerance to recombinant human acid alpha-glucosidase (rhGAA) in patients with classic infantile Pompe disease.Study designThree patients (1 cross reactive immunologic material negative, 2 cross reactive immunologic material positive) were treated with 4 weekly doses of rituximab, weekly methotrexate, and monthly intravenous immunoglobulin and enzyme replacement therapy at 40 mg/kg/week. Antibody titers were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Neutralizing effects on rhGAA activity and cellular uptake were determined and combined with pharmacokinetic analysis. Clinical efficacy was evaluated by (ventilator-free) survival, reduction in left ventricular mass index, and improvement of motor function.ResultsImmunomodulation induced B cell depletion that was accompanied by absence of antibody formation in all 3 patients. Upon cessation of rituximab treatment, all 3 patients showed B cell recovery, which was accompanied by formation of very high sustained antibody titers in 2 patients. Neutralizing effects on infused rhGAA were low to mild/moderate. All patients were alive at study end, learned to walk, and showed (near) normalization of left ventricular mass index.ConclusionsImmunomodulation as recommended in the literature prevented formation of rhGAA antibodies only during B cell depletion but failed to induce immune tolerance in 2 out of 3 patients.

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