Rituximab for Autoimmune Retinopathy

2014-08-27 03:15:12 | BioPortfolio



- Autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) is an inflammatory condition in which the patient's own immune system is attacking his or her eyes and causing vision loss. Patients with AIR are generally treated with immunosuppressive agents to treat the eye inflammation; however, the standard treatment for this disease is still being developed.

- Rituximab, an immunosuppressive agent, is a monoclonal antibody that is directed against a part of the immune system that may be an important cause of AIR. Rituximab is approved for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis, but is not approved for the treatment of AIR. Researchers are interested in determining whether rituximab may be used to treat AIR.


- To to investigate the safety, tolerability and possible efficacy of rituximab as a treatment for AIR.


- Individuals at least 18 years of age who have been diagnosed with AIR and have visual acuity of 20/200 or better in at least one eye.


- Before the start of the study, participants will be screened with a medical history, immunization records, a series of eye examinations, a chest X-ray, an electrocardiogram, and blood tests.

- Participants will receive a maximum of two cycles of rituximab during the 18-month study. Each cycle will involve two separate intravenous infusions of rituximab given 2 weeks apart.

- Participants will return to the clinic 6 weeks after the first cycle of rituximab for a safety visit, which will include a routine eye and physical examinations. They will also provide blood and other samples for study.

- After the safety visit, participants will return every 3 months for follow-up visits.

- At the 6-month visit, participants who have successfully or partially responded to rituximab will receive another cycle of treatment. Those who do not respond will not receive another cycle, but will continue to be monitored until the end of the study.



Autoimmune retinopathy (AIR) is an ophthalmic disorder in which autoantibodies damage the retina and its components, causing progressive vision loss. AIR has no established treatment, but systemic immunosuppression has shown favorable responses. Rituximab is an immunosuppressive agent which binds specifically to B lymphocytes. The objective of this study is to investigate the safety of rituximab as an effective treatment for AIR.

Study Population:

Five participants with AIR and visual acuity of 20/200 or better in at least one eye will receive rituximab. AIR must be confirmed by immunohistochemical demonstration of serum anti-retinal antibodies on normal, unfixed, frozen rhesus monkey or human retinas, as well as visual field and electroretinography (ERG) changes. Up to seven participants may be enrolled, in order to obtain the five participants to be included in the analysis if participants withdraw prior to receiving rituximab.


The study duration is 18 months. Rituximab is administered as a cycle consisting of two separate rituximab infusions of 1,000 mg each, two weeks apart. Participants will receive their first rituximab cycle at baseline and evaluated for a second cycle six months later. Treatment success is defined as experiencing a greater than a 25% improvement in ERG response amplitudes or greater than a 3 decibel (dB) improvement in mean deviation on Humphrey(Registered Trademark) Field Analyzer [HFA (30-2)] or improvement in threshold values greater than 0.5 log in existing scotomas or greater than 25% improvement in the area of scotomas on Goldmann Visual Field (GVF) assessment as compared with baseline. As a result, participants could receive a maximum of two cycles in this study. Participants will return to the clinic 6 weeks and 3 months after their first infusion of each cycle for a safety visit. Study visits will continue every three months for the study duration.

Outcome Measures:

The primary outcome is the number of participants who meet the definition of treatment success within six months from baseline. Secondary efficacy outcomes include changes in visual acuity, the number of treatment successes at 9 and 12 months, the number of partial responders at 6, 9 and 12 months, changes in ERG or visual field as demonstrated by the HFA (30-2) or GVF, changes in optical coherence tomography (OCT), changes in fluorescein angiography (FA), changes in serum anti-retinal autoantibody or anti-retinal antibody staining, changes in color vision, positive visual symptoms or nyctalopia and changes in the participants' quality-of-life as assessed by the NEI visual function questionnaire. For participants with greater than or equal to 2 ERG measurements available prior to enrollment, an attempt will be made to compare the rate of decline pre-study period to the rate of decline post-enrollment period. Safety outcomes include the number and severity of systemic and ocular toxicities, adverse events, and infections and the proportion of participants with a loss of greater than or equal to 15 ETDRS letter score.

Study Design

Allocation: Non-Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Autoimmune Disease




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
United States




National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:15:12-0400

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