Researchers identify rituximab-insensitive cells in patients with refractory thrombocytopenia purpura

Posted By News On December 29, 2012 - 7:03pm

Primary immune thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP) is a bleeding disorder in which the immune system generates antibodies that destroy platelets, the cells that cause blood to clot. B cells, immune cells that produce the antibodies that recognize the platelets, develop in the spleen.

ITP patients are typically treated with rituximab, a drug that deplete B cells; however, many patients stop responding to this treatment and must have their spleens removed.

In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Jean-Claude Weill and Claude-Agnès Reynaud at the Université Paris Descartes in Paris identified antibody-producing cells in the spleens of ITP patients that were not sensitive to B-cell depleting drugs.

The development of these cells was promoted by rituximab treatment and provides an explanation for why some patients develop refractory ITP.

TITLE: B-cell depletion in immune thrombocytopenia reveals splenic long-lived plasma cells

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