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In a seven-year, multicenter trial that is just getting under way, plasmapheresis will be used to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
Edmund J. Lewis, MD, professor of medicine, Rush-Presbyterian-St Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, is principal investigator. He told a recent American Heart Association (AHA) seminar at Seabrook Island, SC, that the effectiveness of plasmapheresis will be compared with that of such standard drugs as prednisone and cyclophosphamide.
The study is expected to involve about 200 patients, and the National Institute of Arthritis, Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIADDKD) has granted $2 million for the first three years. So far, 18 SLE patients have been treated with plasmapheresis at Rush, and three of them have died.
Nonetheless, Lewis told the seminar: "The initial experience indicates that you can interrupt the disease process effectively and decrease its effects immediately, probably in a way that is more effective than other forms of
Gunby P. Plasmapheresis to be tried in systemic lupus. JAMA. 1982;247(12):1688. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320370010006
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