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Epoetin alfa prompts few anti-EPO antibody responses
  NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The prevalence of anti-erythropoietin (anti-EPO) responses appears to be very low in patients with kidney disease being treated with epoetin alfa, Canadian researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
There have been reports of anti-EPO antibodies in a few patients with chronic kidney disease. Such a response leads to the blood disorder, pure red cell aplasia, Dr. George Wu of The Credit Valley Hospital, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues note
To assess the prevalence of anti-EPO antibodies and whether large-scale screening might be warranted, the researchers studied more than 1500 patients with chronic kidney disease. All were being treated with epoetin alfa.
Out of 1531 serum samples that were assayed, one patient had low-positive and three had borderline results for anti-EPO antibodies.
The patient with the low-positive result was treated with cyclosporine for pure red cell aplasia. He was then treated with epoetin alfa with good results. The other three patients showed no clinical signs of pure red cell aplasia.
Given the low prevalence of anti-EPO antibodies, the researchers conclude that "a large-scale antibody screening program for pure red cell aplasia cannot be justified."
Am J Kidney Dis 2004;44:264-269.


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