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This article is part of the supplement: Targeting B cells in autoimmune diseases

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Targeting B cells for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

Thomas J Oligino* and Stacie A Dalrymple

Author Affiliations

Roche Pharmaceuticals, Palo Alto, California, USA

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Arthritis Res Ther 2003, 5(Suppl 4):S7-S11  doi:10.1186/ar1006

Published: 2 October 2003


The role of B cells in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been debated for decades. However, recent clinical trial data indicating that depletion of B cells in RA patients is of therapeutic benefit has validated the importance of this cell type in the pathogenesis of the disease. Elucidation of the molecular basis of B cell development and activation has allowed the identification of a number of possible therapeutic targets that are appealing for drug development. This review discusses briefly a number of these molecules and the rationale for targeting them for the treatment of RA.

autoimmunity; arthritis; B cells