Unravelling the syndrome of age associated diseases 2: Targeting autoimmunity with anti-CD20 antibodies to reduce age-associated diseases
Affiliation: Freiburg University Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany
Keywords: preclinical evidence, leukemia, cancer
The antibody Rituximab that was originally used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukemia was found to be effective for all autoimmune diseases studied so far. This raises the question of whether successful treatment of autoimmune reactions, even at the subclinical level, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other age-associated diseases. Animal experiments and initial clinical observations support this novel therapeutic strategy. However, due to the complex biological processes and the long-time required for clinical observations, it is challenging to produce clear evidence from randomized double-blinded studies. It will be crucial to prove in the near future, whether surrogate endpoints (e.g., elimination of autoreactive B cells) can accelerate the development of this strategy. The present preclinical evidence is convincing, but the path from a “promising anti-aging molecule” to “accepted drug” will be long and require further research.