The Los Angeles Times—July 14, 2010
"The reason this is a big deal is that this is a disease where people would come in and be told, 'Listen, we are probably going to be able to get on top of your life-threatening disease by using cyclophosphamide, but you are going to have major side effects down the road from this drug,'" Dr. Robert Spiera of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said in a statement. Spiera is a coauthor of the report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Side effects of cyclophosphamide can include infections, infertility and cancer.
Vasculitis is an inflammation of small to medium-sized blood vessels caused by the attack of antibodies on immune cells called neutrophils. The two main forms of this disease, autoimmune vasculitis and Wegener's granulomatosis, are so-called rare or orphan diseases that affect fewer than 6,000 Americans. Forty years ago, more than 90% of patients diagnosed with the diseases could expect to die within three years.