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Serum levels of soluble interleukin (IL) 2 receptor strongly correlate with skin involvement, disease progression and mortality in systemic sclerosis (SSc).1,2 This finding underlines the role of activated and possibly dysregulated T cells in the pathogenesis of the disease. Specifically targeting these cells may therefore be a new therapeutic approach. Basiliximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody directed against the α chain (CD25) of the IL2 receptor.3 It is approved for the treatment of kidney allograft rejections. Here, we describe the successful use of basiliximab in combination with cyclophosphamide in a patient with severe, rapidly progressive SSc.
In February 2004, a 43-year-old woman with a 3-year history of Scl-70-positive, diffuse SSc presented to our department. Despite prior treatment with methotrexate, prostacycline infusions, azathioprine and calcium channel blockers, the patient presented with severe Raynaud’s phenomenon, digital ulcers (fig 1A) …
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