Update on the treatment of primary immunodeficiencies.

Allergol Immunopathol (Madr). 2007 Sep;35(5):184-192.

García JM, Español T, Gurbindo MD, Casas C C.

Allergy and Immunology Unit. Department of Paediatrics. Cruces Hospital. Barakaldo. Basque Country. Spain.

A general review of advances in the treatment of Primary Immunodeficiencies (PI) has been performed. Treatment with immunoglobulins is indicated in cases of humoral immunodeficiencies and in selected cases of combined immunodeficiencies.

The use of intramuscular immunoglobulins in the treatment of PI was abandoned after obtaining the intravenous immunoglobulins, since these are much more effective and have fewer adverse effects. Now subcutaneous immunoglobulins are also available. Immunoglobulins help to keep the patients free of symptoms and infections as these substances are able to neutralise infectious agents, modulate and promote the immune response and favour phagocytosis. Adverse effects have been reported in 5-15 % of patients receiving IVIg, and patients with deficiencies of subclasses of IgG with IgA deficiency and/or anti-IgA antibodies are at risk of severe reactions. No severe adverse effects of subcutaneous immuneglobulins have been reported and the medication can be self-administered. The efficacy and safety of IVIg and SCIg are similar and SCIg administered at home is associated with better quality of life. Stem Cell Transplantation (SCT) in Primary Immunodeficiencies is aimed at restoring the number and/or function of lymphocytes or phagocytes. Matched, related or unrelated donors, or related haploidentical donors are selected. HLA class II mismatched unrelated donors are avoided owing to the risk of severe graft versus host disease (GVHD). Stem cells are obtained from bone marrow, cord blood or peripheral blood. Prophylactic immunossupression (as well as donor T lymphocyte depletion in haploidentical and unrelated donors) is performed to avoid or minimize GVHD. Less toxic "reduced intensity" protocols now exist for pre-transplantation conditioning, indicated to avoid graft rejection if there is residual T-lymphocyte immunity in the host. In the majority of Severe Combined Immunodeficiencies (SCID), SCT results in T lymphocytes graft and the antibody immunodeficiency persists in many cases. The results are better the earlier it is performed, with the absence of previous infections, and with the degree of matching. The patient must be maintained in a laminar flow room with broad anti-infectious prophylaxis and with the intravenous administration of gammaglobulin for a variable period. Many other complications can be expected. Gene therapy. Patients with PI are ideal candidates, as they are monogenic, the haematopoietic cells are easily obtained and virus replication is easy within them. Vectors (viruses) "infect" the stem cells of the patient's bone marrow, producing the transfection of the wild (healthy) gene in these cells. Encouraging results have been achieved in X-linked SCID as there are a number of patients who are considered "cured", although neoplastic processes have occurred due to the activation of proto-oncogenes close to the point of insertion of the external gene, using retroviruses as vectors; there are now trials with adenovirus, physical methods (direct injection...) and chemical methods (viral modification, artificial viruses...). Gene therapy has also been performed in patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease and trials will improve in the future with changes in protocols used in oncology and infectious diseases.

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