Autoimmune diseases are a large group of diseases with diverse clinical manifestations. They occur due to uncontrolled
abnormal immune responses to self tissue and organs. Biologic therapy as a new weapon in the war to against autoimmune diseases
is rapidly expanding owning to their specificity, efficacy and safety profiles compared with the traditional non-biologic
disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The major targets of these biologic therapies include cytokines, immune
cells and some co-stimulation molecules. Cytokines as the targets of biologic therapies are mainly the three classic inflammatory
cytokines include tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1. Immune cells targets include B cells and T
cells. Though these agents are useful in most patients, the adverse effects accompanied with biologic therapy such as infection
and tumor incidence make it quite important to decide appropriately when and how to use these agents. Research in order to
define more candidate targets of biologic therapy in autoimmune disease is ongoing.
Based on this background, we assembled this special issue for a better understanding of the use of biologics in autoimmune
diseases, on aspect of various biologics used in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, Primary Sjögren’s Syndrome (pSS), autoimmune
liver diseases, vasculities, Systemic Sclerosis and polymyositis and dermatomyositis-associated interstitial lung disease.
In this special issue, Dashan Wang summarized the biologic agents currently available to treat RA, and the prospective biologic
therapies that might be used in the management of RA the in future. Manisha Relan gave an update on the use of biologics
in lupus, with a focus on Rituximab, Abatacept, Belimumab, and Epratuzumab. The use of biologics in psoriatic arthritis was
summarized by Yan Li. Shiju Chen reviewed the biologics therapy in pSS, focused on the Rituximab in the treatment of pSS to
explicate pathogenic function of B cells and assesse its efficacy in sicca symptoms, systemic manifestations and laboratory parameters
in pSS patients. Mei Liu provided an overview of emerging biotherapy for autoimmune liver diseases, which gave us a
new insight into the treatment strategy in autoimmune liver diseases. Sahana Vishwanath presented a review on biologic agents
used in various vasculities. Jingxiu Xuan made a review on the use of biologics in treatment of Systemic Sclerosis. The use of
biologics in polymyositis and dermatomyositis was discussed by Yuechi Sun, with a focus on the polymyositis and dermatomyositis-
associated interstitial lung disease.
This special issue covers many important aspects in the use of biologics in treatment autoimmune diseases, which will
surely provide us a better understanding about the role of various biologics in treatment of autoimmune diseases.