Rituximab (MabThera) maintenance therapy for granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA)

featured image
Therapeutic Areas: Cardiovascular System
Year: 2017

Anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis is a rare condition in which abnormal antibodies attack the body’s own cells, causing inflammation. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) and microscopic polyangiitis (MPA) are two different types of ANCA-associated vasculitis. These conditions can cause serious organ damage and severely impact quality of life. Following initial treatment, these conditions frequently return.
Rituximab is a medicine, delivered as an infusion into the vein. It destroys B cells, the part of the immune system thought to be involved in this type of vasculitis. It is already licensed for use (and recommended by NICE) as a treatment for people with GPA or MPA. There has however not been sufficient evidence to consider the continued use of rituximab as maintenance therapy, although this is already commissioned by NHS England in some instances. The current clinical trial examines the use of rituximab as a maintenance treatment in patients with GPA or MPA. If licensed, rituximab would offer another option for maintenance therapy in this patient cohort.