Yearly Archives: 2007

The Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation is conducting a clinical trial on stem cell therapy for autoimmune diseases (Autoimmune Bullous Skin Disorders such as pemphigus and pemphigoid are included).

The Division of Immunotherapy is laboratory and clinic based, utilizing methods that allow the safe isolation, manipulation and preservation of population of stem cells and immune cells for therapeutic purposes.

Currently DIAD collaborates with the Divisions of Rheumatology, Nephrology, Gastroenterology and Hematology/Oncology, and the Departments of Neurology and Transplant Surgery in innovation approaches and active protocols for the treatment of severe lupus, amyloidosis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and post transplant Lymphoproliferative disorders and cancers.

The Division invites inquires from physicians who would like to apply hematopoietic stem cells or immune cells toward innovative approaches to disease management and organ regeneration.

Northwestern's Clinical Areas and Conditions page


By Michelle Greer, RN, MBA
Michael T. Rigas, PharmD
Crescent Healthcare, Inc.

“The information provided in this article has been edited by Drs. Jean-Claude Bystryn and Sergei Grando of the IPPF Medical Advisory Baord.  There are several companies that provided IVIG at home.  The decision to utilize IVIG at home and what company to use, should be made between you and your treating physician.”

IVIG stands for intravenous immunoglobulin. Immunoglobulins are also known as antibodies, which are produced by the body to activate the immune system to attack virus and bacteria. IVIG is a medication that is a blood product. It is made from the plasma of thousands of carefully screened donors. 90 – 98% of IVIG is made up of Immunoglobulin G (IgG.)  IgG is a Y-shaped protein that is the main antibody found in blood plasma.

The costs of medication are high and many people have trouble paying for them if they don’t have medical insurance. You need to take your medication exactly as your doctor wants you to. Skipping doses or reducing doses on your own can have serious consequences.

One common way to reduce the cost is by switching to a generic brand. Check with your doctor or pharmacist. If you are a veteran, check with the Veteran's Administration. Perhaps you can join an organization which offers members a discount on medication, such as The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP Website or AARP MedicareRx Plans Website).

Check to see if buying more at one time, or buying smaller amounts of medication more often can save you money. You can also check with your county health department to see if you are eligible to get medical treatment at reduced rates. Another organization that may help is the National Council on the Aging. Finally, most drug manufacturers have a plan where patients can get medication at reduced prices or even free. This is not usually easy and sometimes your doctor has to make the effort, but it certainly worth checking into.

The area around a wound must be kept clean and reasonably moist. When the dressings are dirty, they need to be replaced promptly. Leaving bandages on too long can slow the healing process and encourage infection. Replace any dressing when fluids soak through. This is called bleed-through and ideally, bandages should be changed before this occurs. Bleed-through increases the danger that a bandage will adhere to the wound. When this happens, soak the dressings and coax it off gently. The frequency of dressing changes depends on the wounds and the dressings applied. Talk with your doctor or nurse to familiarize yourself with the correct treatment protocols.

Prednisone may distort lab tests. Allergy tests and tuberculosis tests will be invalid. Pap smears may be misinterpreted as cervical dysplasia. Test results for tuberculosis and cancer may also be affected. Other medications may also interfere with medical test results. If you have questions consult your doctor or pharmacist.

While current therapies for some autoimmune diseases may be adequate to keep your disease in balance, advances in biotechnology research may revolutionize the future treatment of these potentially debilitating conditions by more specifically attacking the cause of the autoimmunity.

Drug development is a monumental team effort consisting of scientists, physicians, research professionals, and most importantly, the volunteers who participate in clinical studies.

Following is a summary of the clinical trial process which we hope you find useful in your journey towards understanding if clinical trial participation is right for you and/or someone you care about. It is our hope that by providing you with this information, you will become more familiar with the drug development process and explore further with your physician the possibility of clinical trial participation.

The process of developing new drugs is complex, time consuming, expensive and risky. Unfortunately, most drugs in development never make it to patients. The challenge is even greater for the development of drugs for diseases that affect limited numbers of people. Drug development is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA estimates on average, it takes 8 years to study and test a new drug before it becomes available for patients.

The search for a new treatment begins in the laboratory with scientific research about a particular disease and to identify potential compounds that can be made into drugs to treat the disease. Potential compounds are analyzed for their physical and chemical properties, first in the laboratory and then in animals to determine their pharmacologic properties and toxic effects. Before a new drug can be approved for use in humans, it must be thoroughly tested in the laboratory.