- Safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab therapy in patients with different autoimmune diseases: experience from a national registry (GRAID) (2011)
- Introduction Evidence from a number of open-label, uncontrolled studies has suggested that rituximab may benefit patients with autoimmune diseases who are refractory to standard of care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab in several standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases (within rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology and neurology) other than rheumatoid arthritis or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a real-life clinical setting. Methods Patients who received rituximab having shown an inadequate response to standard of care had their safety and clinical outcomes data retrospectively analysed as part of the German Registry of Autoimmune Diseases. The main outcome measures were safety and clinical response, as judged at the discretion of the investigators. Results A total of 370 patients (299 patient-years) with various autoimmune diseases (23.0% with systemic lupus erythematosus, 15.7% antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides, 15.1% multiple sclerosis and 10.0% pemphigus) from 42 centres received a mean dose of 2440 mg of rituximab over a median (range) of 194 (180 to 1407) days. The overall rate of serious infections was 5.3 per 100 patient-years during rituximab therapy. Opportunistic infections were infrequent across the whole study population, and mostly occurred in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. There were 11 deaths (3.0% of patients) after rituximab treatment (mean 11.6 months after first infusion, range 0.8 to 31.3 months), with most of the deaths caused by infections. Overall (n = 293), 13.3% of patients showed no response, 45.1% showed a partial response and 41.6% showed a complete response. Responses were also reflected by reduced use of glucocorticoids and various immunosuppressives during rituximab therapy and follow-up compared with before rituximab. Rituximab generally had a positive effect on patient well-being (physician's visual analogue scale; mean improvement from baseline of 12.1 mm). Conclusions Data from this registry indicate that rituximab is a commonly employed, well-tolerated therapy with potential beneficial effects in standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases, and support the results from other open-label, uncontrolled studies. Additional file 1: Supplemental tables. Table A1. Duration of follow-up from first rituximab infusion to last control visit by diagnosis. Table A2. Number of rituximab infusions by diagnosis.
- Kurs auf die Europäische Union : von der Transformation zur Integration (2002)
- Der Beitritt zur Europäischen Union (EU) war seit Beginn der Transformation in Osteuropa eines der wichtigsten politischen Ziele der neu gewählten Regierungen. Im Mittelpunkt der öffentlichen Diskussion stand dabei weniger die Frage nach möglichen nationalen Opfern einer schnellen EU-Integration, sondern der Wunsch, die nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg erfolgte Teilung Europas endgültig zu überwinden. Nach über zehn Jahren Transformation und Privatisierung ist jedoch vielerorts Ernüchterung eingekehrt. Die politische Debatte um die EU-Integration der osteuropäischen Beitrittskandidaten wird zunehmend von den Kandidaten selbst kritisch geführt, und die Frage nach den nationalen Lasten eines EU-Beitritts gewinnt an Bedeutung. Je näher der Beitritt der osteuropäischen Staaten zur EU rückt, desto nachdrücklicher wird dort gefragt, ob die Mitgliedschaft in der Union ein Gewinn sein wird. Die Beitrittskandidaten befürchten u.a., dass die eigene Wirtschaft und ganze Berufsgruppen, wie z.B. die Bauern, dem EU-Wettbewerbsdruck nicht standhalten werden können. Auf der anderen Seite bremsen eigennützige Ansprüche der Altmitglieder die Osterweiterung der EU. Noch ist bei anstehenden Abstimmungen in den mittel- und osteuropäischen Ländern (MOEL) über den Beitritt überall eine Mehrheit dafür zu erwarten, doch die Euroskepsis wächst und die Europa-Kritiker gewinnen an politischem Einfluss. Die vorliegende Arbeit soll einen Beitrag zur Versachlichung der EU-Erweiterungsdiskussion leisten und die Zusammenhänge zwischen dem Transformationsprozess der MOEL und deren EU-Integration verdeutlichen. Eine sachliche Diskussion kann nur dann geführt werden, wenn dabei die Besonderheiten, die Gemeinsamkeiten und die Interdependenzen von Transformations- und Integrationsprozess berücksichtigt werden. Wir gehen dazu wie folgt vor. Zunächst beschreiben wir en Transformationsprozess aus ökonomischer Sicht (2.). Neben den wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Folgen der Transformation, soll die historische Pfadabhängigkeit verschiedener Transformationsergebnisse gezeigt und deren Bedeutung für die EU-Integrationsfähigkeit der MOEL diskutiert werden. Im Anschluss daran erläutern wir die Voraussetzungen einer EU-Osterweiterung aus Sicht der Beitrittskandidaten (Beitrittskriterien von Kopenhagen) und aus Sicht der Europäischen Union. Wir zeigen die aus einem Integrationsprozess resultierenden wirtschaftlichen, sozialen und politischen Folgen für Neu- und Altmitglieder auf und stellen den aktuellen Stand der EU-Beitrittsverhandlungen vor (3.). Die Arbeit endet mit der Darstellung alternativer Entwicklungen und einem Fazit (4.).
- Covalently bound substrate at the regulatory site triggers allosteric enzyme activation (2008)
- The mechanism by which the enzyme pyruvate decarboxylase from yeast is activated allosterically has been elucidated. A total of seven three-dimensional structures of the enzyme, of enzyme variants or of enzyme complexes from two yeast species (three of them reported here for the first time) provide detailed atomic resolution snapshots along the activation coordinate. The prime event is the covalent binding of the substrate pyruvate to the side chain of cysteine 221, thus forming a thiohemiketal. This reaction causes the shift of a neighbouring amino acid, which eventually leads to the rigidification of two otherwise flexible loops, where one of the loops provides two histidine residues necessary to complete the enzymatically competent active site architecture. The structural data are complemented and supported by kinetic investigations and binding studies and provide a consistent picture of the structural changes, which occur upon enzyme activation.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy versus supportive therapy for persistent positive symptoms in psychotic disorders: the POSITIVE Study, a multicenter, prospective, single-blind, randomised controlled clinical trial (2010)
- Background: It has been demonstrated that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has a moderate effect on symptom reduction and on general well being of patients suffering from psychosis. However, questions regarding the specific efficacy of CBT, the treatment safety, the cost-effectiveness, and the moderators and mediators of treatment effects are still a major issue. The major objective of this trial is to investigate whether CBT is specifically efficacious in reducing positive symptoms when compared with non-specific supportive therapy (ST) which does not implement CBT-techniques but provides comparable therapeutic attention. Methods: The POSITIVE study is a multicenter, prospective, single-blind, parallel group, randomised clinical trial, comparing CBT and ST with respect to the efficacy in reducing positive symptoms in psychotic disorders. CBT as well as ST consist of 20 sessions altogether, 165 participants receiving CBT and 165 participants receiving ST. Major methodological aspects of the study are systematic recruitment, explicit inclusion criteria, reliability checks of assessments with control for rater shift, analysis by intention to treat, data management using remote data entry, measures of quality assurance (e.g. on-site monitoring with source data verification, regular query process), advanced statistical analysis, manualized treatment, checks of adherence and competence of therapists. Research relating the psychotherapy process with outcome, neurobiological research addressing basic questions of delusion formation using fMRI and neuropsychological assessment and treatment research investigating adaptations of CBT for adolescents is combined in this network. Problems of transfer into routine clinical care will be identified and addressed by a project focusing on cost efficiency. Discussion: This clinical trial is part of efforts to intensify psychotherapy research in the field of psychosis in Germany, to contribute to the international discussion on psychotherapy in psychotic disorders, and to help implement psychotherapy in routine care. Furthermore, the study will allow drawing conclusions about the mediators of treatment effects of CBT of psychotic disorders. Trial Registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN29242879
- Reliability, validity and responsiveness of the EQ-5D in assessing and valuing health status in patients with social phobia (2013)
- OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to analyse the psychometric properties of the EQ-5D in patients with social phobia. METHODS: We used a sample of 445 patients with social phobia with five measurement points over a 30 month period. The discriminative ability of the EQ-5D was analysed by comparing the patients' responses with the general population and between different disease severity levels. For test-retest reliability we assessed the level of agreement in patients' responses over time, when there was no change in the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Construct validity was analysed by identifying correlations of the EQ-5D with more specific instruments. For responsiveness we compared the means of EQ VAS/EQ-5D index anchored on improved (deteriorated) health status and computed effect sizes as well as a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. RESULTS: Compared to the general population, patients with social phobia reported more problems in the dimensions "usual activities", "pain/discomfort", and "anxiety/depression" and less problems in "mobility" and "self-care". The EQ-5D was able to distinguish between different disease severity levels. The test-retest reliability was moderate (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.6). Correlations between the EQ-5D and other instruments were mostly small except for correlations with Beck Depression Inventory. The EQ-5D index seemed to be more responsive than the EQ VAS, but with only medium effect sizes (0.5 < effect size < 0.8) in the British EQ-5D index and only significant in patients with improved health status. The ROC analysis revealed no significant results. CONCLUSIONS: The EQ-5D was moderately reliable and responsive in patients with improved health status. Construct validity was limited. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current controlled trials ISRCTN53517394.
- Implementation of chronic illness care in German primary care practices - how do multimorbid older patients view routine care? A cross-sectional study using multilevel hierarchical modeling (2014)
- Background: In primary care, patients with multiple chronic conditions are the rule rather than the exception. The Chronic Care Model (CCM) is an evidence-based framework for improving chronic illness care, but little is known about the extent to which it has been implemented in routine primary care. The aim of this study was to describe how multimorbid older patients assess the routine chronic care they receive in primary care practices in Germany, and to explore the extent to which factors at both the practice and patient level determine their views. Methods: This cross-sectional study used baseline data from an observational cohort study involving 158 general practitioners (GP) and 3189 multimorbid patients. Standardized questionnaires were employed to collect data, and the Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (PACIC) questionnaire used to assess the quality of care received. Multilevel hierarchical modeling was used to identify any existing association between the dependent variable, PACIC, and independent variables at the patient level (socio-economic factors, weighted count of chronic conditions, instrumental activities of daily living, health-related quality of life, graded chronic pain, no. of contacts with GP, existence of a disease management program (DMP) disease, self-efficacy, and social support) and the practice level (age and sex of GP, years in current practice, size and type of practice). Results: The overall mean PACIC score was 2.4 (SD 0.8), with the mean subscale scores ranging from 2.0 (SD 1.0, subscale goal setting/tailoring) to 3.5 (SD 0.7, delivery system design). At the patient level, higher PACIC scores were associated with a DMP disease, more frequent GP contacts, higher social support, and higher autonomy of past occupation. At the practice level, solo practices were associated with higher PACIC values than other types of practice. Conclusions: This study shows that from the perspective of multimorbid patients receiving care in German primary care practices, the implementation of structured care and counseling could be improved, particularly by helping patients set specific goals, coordinating care, and arranging follow-up contacts. Studies evaluating chronic care should take into consideration that a patient’s assessment is associated not only with practice-level factors, but also with individual, patient-level factors. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN89818205.