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Rituximab Discovery Process

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Chemistry
Wordcount: 3271 words Published: 1st Dec 2017

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Description of the Target Disease

Rituximab (Rituxan) is a distinct monoclonal antibody for curing of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma(NHL) or chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This drug is also used in conjunction with methotrexate to cure symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This form of cancer begins from the lymphatic system and extends all over the body. In this disease, tumor grows from lymphocytes-a variety of white blood cell. The lymphatic system is a fraction of the immune system and aids battle infections and other ailments in addition to sieving out bacteria. Clear liquid called lymph runs via the lymphatic vessels and have white blood cells called lymphocytes that fight infections (Kim 266). Although there are several diverse kinds of lymphoma that exist, this specific type is mostly widespread. The major indicator of the health is the presence of a bump in a lymph node. In the UK, over 11,000 infections of lymphoma are detected each year. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is related with ageing as the chances of getting the illness increases with age and its typical age of detection is estimated at 65. While the root of the health condition is unidentified, the risk features of developing it consist of having a health condition that deteriorates the immune system, previous contact with high amounts of radiation and being formerly in contact with Epstein-Barr virus. The standard way to verify the presence of this form of lymphoma is by conducting a biopsy (investigation of infected lymph bump. Survival chances of a patient with illness differ significantly depending on the actual type, status and phase of the lymphoma.

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Rituximab (Rituxan) vaccine is used in the curing of lymphoma and was discerned at IDEC Pharmaceuticals’ laboratories in 1991 and marketed by Genentech, a subordinate of Roche Group. The antibody was hereditarily engineered and used to generate high-yield expression structures. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) endorsed Rituximab in 1997 for curing this type of lymphoma. The vaccine received EU endorsement in June 1998 and sold under the brand name MabThera. On January 2011, the FDA endorsed Rituxan for treatment of superior follicular lymphoma (Carson et al. 820).

Pharmaceutical Discovery Process of Rituxan

As a curative IgG1 kappa antibody, Rituxan has mouse variable areas separated from anti-CD20 antibody. The antibody targets the lymphoma by binding itself with high resemblance to the cells having the CD20 antigen present on the exterior of normal B cells, excluding other regular cells. It mediates complement-reliant tissue lysis in the existence of human balance and antibody-reliant cellular cytotoxicity. The vaccine helps the immune system of the body to eradicate the stained CD20 B cells, reproduce new strong tissues from the lymphoid and takes them back to normal phases within a period of twelve months. In addition, the drug has been proven to stimulate apoptosis and modifies chemo-resistant lymphoma cells into in vitro (Ghetie et al. 1395).

Clinical Phases of Rituximab

Clinical trials are potential biomedical studies on human beings that are created to gather information about precise question on biomedical interventions. They are vital to the development of new drugs and vaccines used to prevent and cure diseases. Clinical researches are carried out to ascertain whether an innovative medication is secure and effective. Such studies are conducted after satisfactory information has been collected and approved by health authorities in the country of research. Ideally, clinical trials on new medicines comprises of four stages. Each phase of the procedure is regarded as a distinct clinical trial and the medicine development goes through all the stages over several years. After successfully proceeding through all the four phases, the drug is eventually endorsed by the regulatory authority for utilization in the whole population.

The first phase of clinical development of Rituximab began in 1993. This phase involves the examination of biochemical effects of medicines on the body (pharmacodynamics) and the assessment of the body affects a drug (pharmacokinetics). In single-arm (pharmacodynamics) research, 166 patients who had B cell lymphoma were given four doses of 375 m/m2 of Rituxan as an intravenous infusion on weekly basis. Patients who had tumor of more than10cm in the marginal blood were not included in the study. It was observed that the infusion of Rituxan caused reduction of circulating B cells. Among the 166 patients infected with lymphoma, circulating B cells were lessened in the initial three weeks with continued reduction for 6 months following the treatment, in 83% of the patients. B cell revival began at about six months and the mean B cell levels went back to usual levels by 12 months after conclusion of treatment. It was also observed that there were continued and statistically considerable depletion in serum levels from five to eleven months, after Rituximab administration Idusogie (Esohe et al. 1480).

In pharmacokinetics study, 203 lymphoma patients were given four doses of 375mg/m2 Rituxan intravenous infusion on weekly basis. Rituxan was identified in the patients’ serum within 3 to 6 months following conclusion of treatment. The pharmacokinetic outline of Rituximab when given in form of six infusions of 375mg/m2in conjunction with six doses of chemotherapy was comparable to that observed with Rituximab only. In accordance to 298 non-Hodgkin’s patients who were given Rituximab dose once weekly, scrutiny of information indicated that the median terminal eradication lifespan was twenty two days (series of 6 to 52 days). The patients who had more CD19 cell tally or bigger measurable tumor before treatment indicated higher clearance. Age and sex had no impact on the Rituximab’s pharmacokinetics (Byrd et al. 790). Patients were exposed to varying from a single mixture up to a period of two years. Rituxan was researched in single and regulated trials. Majority of the patients obtained 375mg/m2 of Rituxan infusion, provided as a solitary agent on weekly basis up to eight doses, in conjunction with eight doses of chemotherapy or 16 doses of chemotherapy.

Many of the lymphoma patients reported various infusion reactions comprising of fever, nausea, angioedema, headache, rash, vomiting, pruritus, myaldia, bronchospasm and dizziness after the initial Rituxan infusion. The infusion responses generally happened in 30 to 120 minutes after the initial infusion and steadied with slowing of the Rituxan infusion coupled with helpful care. The occurrence of the infusion effects was highest at the in initial infusion (77%) and reduced gradually with each preceding infusion. Patients who previously had untreated health condition and did not show a rank 3 or 4 reaction associated with infusion in cycle 1 and obtained of 90 minutes Rituxan infusion at cycle 2, the occurrence of Grade3 to 4 infusion associated responses was 1.1% on or a day following the infusion. In cycles 2 to 8, the occurrence of Grade 3 to 4 infusion responses after the 90 minutes was 2.8% on or a day following the infusion (McLaughlin et al. 1765).

Severe infections (Grade 3 or 4), consisting of sepsis, happened in not more than 5% of the lymphoma patients in the single-arm researches. The general occurrence of illnesses was 31% (viral 10%, unknown 6%, bacterial 19% and fungal 1%). In the haphazard regulated researches where Rituxan had been given after chemotherapy for the healing of the medical condition, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the speed of infection was greater amongst the patients who had been given Rituxan. In scattered lymphoma patients with large B-cell, viral infections happened more repeatedly for those who had obtained Rituxan.

For lymphoma patients who had been given Rituximab monotheraphy, 48% of them displayed cytopenias of score 3 and 4. These comprised lymphopenia (40%), thrombocytopenia (2%). leucopenia (4%) and neutropenia (6%) .The mean period was 14 days for lymphopenia (range, 1 to 588 days) and 13 days for neutropenia (range, 2 to 116 days). Further, a single incidence of red cell aplastic (transient anemia) and two incidences of hemolytic anemia after Rituxan treatment happened at some stages in the single-arm researches. In the researches of monotheraphy, induced B-cell reduction happened in 71% to 81% of the lymphoma patients. Reduced serum levels of IgM and IgG happened in 14% of the patients (Idusogie et al. 1487).

In phase III of the clinical trials were based on primary Rituxan and maintenance. This clinical trial was carried out in an open and randomized way comprising of two treatment stages and 1217 non-Hodgkin’s patients were enrolled. The research assessed the safety of Rituxan when mixed with chemotherapy in curing patients possessed with the medical condition. The principal outcome gauge was to unearth the Progression Free Survival (PFS) duration from randomization to development, death or relapse. The secondary result measure consisted assessment of response paces, chemotherapy treatments mixed both with and devoid of Rituxan and event motivated endurance endpoints. For the initial treatment, eight doses of Rituxan mixed with diverse chemotherapy were utilized. Patients who reacted to the first treatment were dispersed to obtain Rituxan on one occasion in a period of two months, for duration of two years, as the only agent.

The resulted obtained indicated that the prescription of Rituxan in conjunction with chemotherapy for the particular period multiplied twice the PFS in the lymphoma patients. The research also confirmed that the protection and effectiveness of 375mg/m2 Rituxan was constant in the subsequently utilized pivotal researches when utilized solely or in conjunction with chemotherapy unlike those who ceased receiving Rituxan. Patients who were given Rituxan showed Grade 2 infection. Grade 3 to 4 severe responses of small white blood cell tally and infections were reported to be advance in Rituxan group.

Post Marketing Experience

As these reactions are detailed willingly from a populace of tentative size, it is impossible to dependably approximate their frequency or develop an informal association to drug exposure. Choices to consider in these reactions when labeling are normally based on the following aspect: seriousness of response, incidence of reporting, or potency of causal attachment to Rituxan. There are no sufficient and well-regulated researches on the use of Rituximab in expectant. post marketing information pointed out that B lymphocytopenia cell typically enduring not more than six months can happen in infants subjected to Rituximab in the uterus. Rituximab was discovered in the serum of newborns after birth. NHL is a severe illness that necessitates treatment. Rituximab ought to be utilized only during pregnancy if the probable gain to the mother validates potential threat to the fetus. Reproduction researches in cynomolgus monkeys at motherly exposures comparable to human curative exposures indicated no sign of teratogenic effects. Although B cell tissue was lessened in the progeny of treated monkeys, b cell tally returned to usual points after six months of delivery (Leget et al. 547).

In the case of nursing mothers, it is unidentified whether Rituxan is produced into human milk. Published information proposes that antibodies present in breast milk stops from going into the infant circulations in significant amounts. FDA has not necessitated pediatric researches in Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (PJIA) people of ages below 16 years due to worry of potential extended immune suppression in the growing immature immune system. Therefore, the safety of Rituxan in people with pediatric condition has not been ascertained.


Just like with all curative proteins, there is a possibility of immunogenicity. The indentified occurrence of positivity of antibody in an assay is greatly reliant on various factors comprising assay sensitivity, sample handling, assay methodology, concomitant treatments, sample gathering timing and underlying ailment. Due to the above reasons, assessment of the occurrence of antibodies to Rituximab and to other results may be deceiving. While utilizing an ELISA assay, Human Anti-Chimerical Antibody (HACA) was observed in (1.1%) 4 of 436 people with the lymphoma acquiring sole-agent Rituxan. 75% of the patients had purposive clinical reaction (Leget et al. 549).

After the successful completion of the clinical trials on November 26, 1997, the Food and Drug Administration endorsed Rituximab, for showing the presence of follicular lymphoma. It formed the foremost monoclonal antibody endorsed for curing of cancer and the foremost sole agent endorsed precisely for healing of the specific lymphoma. Rituximab in conjunction with chemotherapy (CHOP) is better to CHOP only in the curing of huge lymphoma cells and various forms of B-cell lymphomas. The appropriate intravenous dose of 375mg/m2 is four weekly infusions. Healing is endured and outpatient treatment is feasible. Severe incidences are mainly grade 1 and 2, happening mostly with the initial infusion. In phase II sole-agent, the overall reaction pace was 50% with 10 months mean time to progression in patients. The bigger multicenter clinical test of 166 patients, the general reaction tempo was 48% (6% complete and 42% incomplete reactions). The median duration of reaction was 11 months and 13 months for responders. Activity has also been observed in patients with huge disease. Rituximab, endorsed for curing cancer, is safe and valuable in treating people with the health condition (Jazirehi & Benjamin 2120).

Mechanism of Action

Rituximab attaches itself particularly to the antigen CD20, (B-lymphocyte-restricted segregation antigen, Bp35), a transmembrane protein that has a molecular mass of about 35 kD centered on B-lymphocytes. In the particular lymphoma, the antigen is shown on 90% of the B cells. However, the antigen does not exist on hematopoietic cells, normal plasma tissues or pro-B cells. CD20 controls an initial stride in the activation procedure for tissue cycle initiation and segregation, and probably operates as a calcium ion path.CD20 is not eradicated from the cell exterior and is not internalized when the antibody starts binding. B cells function also in the pathogenesis of the disease, rheumatoid arthritis and are related to chronic synovitis. In this situation, B cells might be operating at multiple locations in the autoimmune process, going through generation of rheumatoid factor (RF), antigen presentation and other autoantibodies production. The Fab realm of Rituximab attaches to the antigen CD20 present on the disease and its domain enlists immune effectors roles to intervene B-cell into vitro. Probable means of cell lysis comprise of Antibody-Dependent Cell Mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and Complement-Dependent Cytotoxitiy (CDC) (Janas et al. 442). The antibody has been demonstrated to stimulate apoptosis in the B-cell lymphoma. During tissue cross-reactivity, it was noted that Rituximab attached on the lymphoid tissues in the thymus, and on greater part of B-lymphocytes in marginal lymph and blood lumps. Little binding was seen in the non-lymphoid cells examined.

Rituxan Prescription

Administration of Rituxan to patients can cause severe side effects, which can eventually lead to death. Infusion reactions are the major usual side effects that occur. Severe infusion responses normally happen within 24 hours of initial infusion. It is important for patients to receive medicines to aid in reducing the possibility of having adverse infusion reactions from doctors. Patients with adverse infusion reaction history and other severe infections must notify their physicians before obtaining Rituxan. In case of occurrence of symptoms such as rash, sudden cough, itchiness, weakness and palpitations, patients should contact their doctors to obtain medication immediately. Other adverse side effects encompass Hepatitis B Virus reactivation, severe skin reaction and Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML). Rituxan is administered by intravenous infusion through a needle. Blood tests are normally performed to ensure that no conditions that can safe hinder use of Rituxan (Grillo-López & Antonio 770).

The success and effectiveness of Rituximab has resulted in the development of advance anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies. The advance value of Rituximab has given it superior edge over other drugs available in the market for the healing of the lymphoma. Amid its enhanced binding effect to cancerous B cells, Rituximab continues to dominate the market.










Works cited

Byrd, John C., et al. “Rituximab therapy in hematologic malignancy patients with circulating blood tumor cells: association with increased infusion-related side effects and rapid blood tumor clearance.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 17.3 (1999): 791-791.

Carson, Kenneth R., et al. “Monoclonal antibody-associated progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy in patients treated with rituximab, natalizumab, and efalizumab: a Review from the Research on Adverse Drug Events and Reports (RADAR) Project.” The lancet oncology 10.8 (2009): 816-824.

Ghetie, M. A., Bright, H., & Vitetta, E. S. (2001). Homodimers but not monomers of Rituxan (chimeric anti-CD20) induce apoptosis in human B-lymphoma cells and synergize with a chemotherapeutic agent and an immunotoxin. Blood, 97(5), 1392-1398.

Grillo-López, Antonio J. “Rituximab (Rituxan®/MabThera®): the first decade (1993-2003).” Expert review of anticancer therapy 3.6 (2003): 767-779.

Janas, E., et al. “Rituxan (anti‐CD20 antibody)‐induced translocation of CD20 into lipid rafts is crucial for calcium influx and apoptosis.” Clinical & Experimental Immunology 139.3 (2005): 439-446.

Jazirehi, Ali R., and Benjamin Bonavida. “Cellular and molecular signal transduction pathways modulated by rituximab (rituxan, anti-CD20 mAb) in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: implications in chemosensitization and therapeutic intervention.” Oncogene 24.13 (2005): 2121-2143.

Kim, Julian A. “Targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer.” The American journal of surgery 186.3 (2003): 264-268.

Leget, Gail A., and Myron S. Czuczman. “Use of rituximab, the new FDA-approved antibody.” Current opinion in oncology 10.6 (1998): 548-551.

McLaughlin, Peter, et al. “Clinical status and optimal use of rituximab for B-cell lymphomas.” Oncology (Williston Park, NY) 12.12 (1998): 1763-9.

Idusogie, Esohe E., et al. “Mapping of the C1q binding site on rituxan, a chimeric antibody with a human IgG1 Fc.” The Journal of Immunology 164.8 (2000): 4178-4184.

Rapoport, A. P., et al. “Autotransplantation for advanced lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease followed by post-transplant rituxan/GM-CSF or radiotherapy and consolidation chemotherapy.” Bone marrow transplantation 29.4 (2002): 303-312.




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