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Anti-CD20 therapy for heart attack

A multinational team has taken a new approach to treating heart attacks: depleting the host of B cells that recruit monocytes to the infarct site, where they further inflame and damage tissue.1 The mouse findings hand a new indication to companies that market or are developing antibodies against CD20 on B cells to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The team is planning a Phase IIa trial of the anti-CD20 mAb Rituxan/MabThera rituximab in patients with myocardial infarction (MI) at several hospitals in Cambridge, U.K., and Paris and is discussing partnering options for the trial with one or more of the companies that market the mAb.

Meanwhile, at least one biotech that has an anti-CD20 antibody is discussing the new findings with its pharma partner.

The ischemic damage caused by MI reduces cardiac function and can lead to death or recurrence of MI. Multiple studies have shown that MI activates components of the innate immune system that contribute to cardiac inflammation and damage, including complement factors, neutrophils and monocytes.2-7

B cells, however,

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