source: U.S. National Library of Medicine
This study is being done to investigate the effects (good and bad) of Rituximab for the treatment of an autoimmune eye disease called Graves’ ophthalmopathy. This disease has proven to be difficult to treat. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that depletes a line of cells involved in the autoimmune response. The study hypotheses is that rituximab is effective in the treatment of patients with moderate to severe active Graves’ ophthalmopathy.
Laboratory evidence suggests that autoantibodies targeting the thyrotropin receptor are directly involved in the pathogenesis of Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO). This double-blind, randomized, controlled study will determine whether rituximab, an anti-B-lymphocyte antigen (CD20) monoclonal antibody that induces transient B-cell depletion, is an effective treatment for moderate to severe, active GO.
Before any treatment is given, careful eye and thyroid physical examinations will be performed and the patients will have several thyroid blood tests, a test to count the white cells in the blood, and a CT scan of the head and eyes. A close-up photograph of the face will be taken and patients will be given a short questionnaire about how their eyes are feeling and how the eye disease is affecting their quality of life.