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31 March 2017

A treatment that removes antibodies from the blood can improve the care of patients with chronic infection, British researchers report today.

The treatment replaces ineffective antibodies with new ones from donated blood using plasmapheresis, doctors in Birmingham and Newcastle report.

The treatment was tested in two patients in their 60s suffering from life-long bronchiectasis caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Plasmapheresis was undertaken five times a week.

The researchers say the treatment reduced the use of antibiotics, hospitalisation and the effects of the chronic infections. The patients reported 'rapid' improvement in their health and well-being.

The findings were reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Researcher Professor Ian Henderson said the patients had suffered from an excess of IgG2, an antibody that blocked the immune system from tackling the infection.

He said: 'Perhaps counter-intuitively, we decided to remove this antibody from the bloodstream and the outcomes were wholly positive.'

He added: 'This shows that we can improve patient wellbeing significantly, by reducing the need for treatment and the numbers of days spent in hospital, which will also help to reduce the reliance on antibiotics.

'The next step is to do longer term studies to investigate whether an earlier intervention, with slightly less aggressive therapies, could help prevent disease progression in patients.'

Dr Tony De Soyza, from Newcastle University, said: 'This treatment restored the ability for the patients’ blood to kill their infecting Pseudomonas.'

Source: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 31 March 2017


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