SAN FRANCISCO—The heterogeneity of systemic vasculitis, a set of diseases characterized by inflammation of blood vessel walls, presents rheumatologists with diagnostic and treatment challenges, said Sharon A. Chung, MD, MAS, director of the University of California, San Francisco Vasculitis Clinic, at the California Rheumatology Alliance 2016 Scientific & Medical Meeting in May.
Explore this issueAugust 2016
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She outlined emerging therapy strategies for three types of vasculitis: giant cell arteritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and Churg-Strauss syndrome. Therapies under study include biological agents, such as rituximab, abatacept, tocilizumab and mepolizumab, which are being used or studied for the treatment of the other autoimmune disorders highlighted in San Francisco.
“There has been significant progress in the past 10 years in the treatment of systemic vasculitis with the advent of biologic therapies, and with multiple studies underway to help expand therapeutic options available to patients,” she said. “In the future, we hope we’ll have an expanded armamentarium of drugs for these diseases.” Meanwhile, the search continues for the holy grail of vasculitis treatment—targeted therapies that minimize toxicity and offer true steroid-sparing benefits. “In vasculitis, we are taking medications shown to be effective for other rheumatic illnesses and seeing if they can be effective for these diseases—because there might be some common pathologies,” Dr. Chung said.