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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 …
Funding The study was partly financially supported by a grant from Novartis, Germany.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the local ethics committee.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.