Castleman Disease

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What`s New in Castleman Disease Research? TOPICS

What`s new in research and treatment of Castleman disease?

Research into the causes and treatment of Castleman disease (CD) is being done in many medical centers throughout the world. Unfortunately, research into this disease is slowed by the fact that CD is so rare. Still, researchers have begun to study several promising new drugs in recent years for use against CD.

Many patients with multicentric CD have high levels of a protein called interleukin-6 (IL-6). Drugs against IL-6 have been developed and are being tested in CD. One of these drugs, tocilizumab (Actemra®), is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the action of IL-6 by binding to its receptor on lymphocytes. This drug is approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis in the United States, but some doctors may use it to treat CD as well.

Another monoclonal antibody, siltuximab, targets IL-6 itself. This drug has shown very promising results in an early study against CD, but it is only available through clinical trials at this time.

It is unclear how helpful these drugs may be in CD patients who are HIV-positive, since few HIV-positive patients have been in the studies so far. Still, these drugs may offer the best hope for the future treatment of CD.

Other drugs being studied for treatment of CD include:

  • Sirolimus (Rapamune®): This drug suppresses the immune system by keeping lymphocytes in check. It is often used to help prevent the rejection of organ transplants, but it may also be helpful in CD.
  • Suramin: This drug is thought to work by stopping IL-6 from attaching to and affecting lymphocytes.
  • CX-4945: This drug blocks CK2, a protein that helps some cells grow and divide. It is still in the earliest phases of testing.

Last Medical Review: 06/11/2012
Last Revised: 06/11/2012