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The monoclonal anti-CD25 antibody basiliximab for the treatment of progressive systemic sclerosis: an open-label study
  1. M O Becker1,
  2. C Brückner1,
  3. H U Scherer1,
  4. N Wassermann1,
  5. J Y Humrich1,
  6. L G Hanitsch2,
  7. U Schneider1,
  8. A Kawald1,
  9. K Hanke1,
  10. G R Burmester1,
  11. G Riemekasten1
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  2. 2Department of Infectious Diseases and Pulmonology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Dr Gabriela Riemekasten, C12, CCM, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Gabriela.Riemekasten{at}charite.de

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Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterised by skin fibrosis together with a dysfunction of the immune system and vasculopathy. Until now, only a few accepted treatment options have existed for patients with progressive disease.1 A similar skin fibrosis is seen in graft-versus-host disease, an immunologically mediated disease in recipients of haematological stem cells.2 In graft-versus-host disease, targeting of CD25-positive lymphocytes with a monoclonal antibody (basiliximab) has been shown to reduce its syptoms and complications.3 CD25 is the cluster designation for the high-affinity interleukin-2 receptor expressed on T and B lymphocytes after their activation. Activated lymphocytes are also thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of SSc as patients have elevated serum interleukin-2 receptor levels and the levels correlate with mortality and disease duration.4 5 As we had already treated one rapidly progressive SSc patient refractory to other forms of treatment with the monoclonal antibody basiliximab,6 we started a …

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