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Depleting B cells in atherosclerosis

Researchers at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicaleand the University of Cambridge have found that B cell depletion can protect mice from atherosclerosis.1The results suggest that B cell-reducing therapies being developed by companies for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis could have the added bonus of protecting against cardiovascular disease, which is important because those two patient populations are known to have accelerated development of atherosclerosis.2

Previous studies in mice had suggested that B cells themselves play a protective role against atherosclerosis.3-5 But Ziad Mallat, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Cambridge, saw that those studies did not address B cell depletion and wondered whether depletion would have a negative effect and accelerate the development of atherosclerotic lesions.

Mallat had also noted that "many patients with lupus have already been treated with B cell-depleting therapies like rituximab, and these patients have not

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