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Coronavirus, tocilizumab: good results in two patients severe. An urgent need for a protocol to extend the use of the drug
“Immediately a national protocol to extend the use of tocilizumab in patients infected by the coronavirus, and that you are in a critical state. The drug, which is used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of interstitial pneumonia caused by the Covid-19”. The appeal comes from Paolo Ascierto, president of the Melanoma Foundation and Director of the Oncology Unit of Melanoma, Immunotherapy of Cancer and Innovative Therapies of the National Cancer Institute, IRCCS Fondazione “Pascale” of Naples, where tocilizumab has been used for the first time in Italy, two patients severe.
Improvements in 24 hours. Now extend the use of tocilizumab, and to start a clinical study "In 24 hours, the therapy has shown excellent results, and we are assessing right now the opportunity to estubare one of the two sick, because his conditions have improved," says Ascierto: "Today somministreremo tocilizumab with two other people hospitalized in Naples and other patients have already received the therapy in the centers of Bergamo, Fano and Milan. This medication may be used in pneumonia from Covid-19 only ‘off label’, i.e. outside of the indications for which it is registered, but it is very important that its use should be extended as soon as possible, so we can save more lives. Our structure, together with the Hospital of the Hills was the first in Italy to use this therapy in patients with coronavirus”.

The drug had down been used in China, where it was observed an improvement of the conditions of 20 patients with coronavirus on 21 processed in approximately 24-48 hours. It was then created a 'bridge' with the chinese doctors: "Only international cooperation will enable to develop effective weapons against the Covid-19", stresses Gerardo Botti, Scientific Director of the ‘Pascale’: "The positive results of tocilizumab must now be validated, and for this you need a multi-center study to the national level”.
How it works the drug, also used in the therapy CAR-T “our experience in the use of immunotherapy in cancer patients has led to the exchange of data and information with chinese colleagues, in particular with dr. Wei Haiming Ming of the First Affiliated Hospital of University of Science and Technology of China, " continues the prof. Ascierto -. We have realized the potential of anti-interleukin-6, the class of which it is part of tocilizumab and anti-TNF in the treatment of the complications of coronavirus. Both interleukin 6 and TNF, in fact, are cytokines involved in the chronic inflammatory process that takes place at the level of the lung in the case of pneumonia caused by coronavirus. In particular, we know very well the mechanism of action of tocilizumab, which is the treatment of choice in the syndrome by release of cytochemistry after cell therapy CAR-T in certain types of cancers. And colleagues in china have confirmed its effectiveness.
The task force Naples After the comparison with the chinese researchers was established as a real task force in Naples, wizard, in addition to Paolo Ascierto, Franco Buonaguro, director, Molecular Biology and Oncogenesis viral Pascale, and Vincenzo Montesarchio, director Oncology of the Azienda Ospedaliera dei Colli. For the Hospital Cotugno part of the group, among others, Rodolfo Punzi (director of the department of infectious Diseases and emergencies upper airways), Roberto Parrella (director of the Uoc infectious Diseases to address respiratory), Florentine Fragrance (director of the Uoc Anaesthesia, reanimation and intensive care), Vincenzo Sangiovanni (director of the Uoc systemic Infections and immunedepressed), Nicholas Mature (responsible for the first Aid infettivologico) and Luigi Atripaldi (director of the laboratory of Microbiologie and virology).

“our health care system is experiencing a very difficult time", they conclude, Attilio Bianchi, General Director of Pascale and Maurizio di Mauro, Director General of the Hospital of the Hills, " "The virus exceeds the borders between the various Countries but also the science that has the capacity to go beyond the national barriers. We must have confidence in the commitment of the researchers to put a stop to the virus. And this collaboration is a valuable witness”.

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