Active ulcerative colitis (UC) is characterized by activation and infiltration of granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages into the colonic mucosa. The infiltrated leukocytes can cause mucosal damage by releasing degradative proteases, reactive oxygen derivatives, and proinflammatory cytokines. The aim of this trial (conducted in 14 specialist centers) was to assess safety and efficacy of granulocyte and monocyte adsorption apheresis in patients with active UC most of whom were refractory to conventional drug therapy. We used a new adsorptive type extracorporeal column (G-1 Adacolumn) filled with cellulose acetate beads (carriers) of 2 mm in diameter, which selectively adsorb granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages. Patients (n = 53) received five apheresis sessions, each of 60 minutes duration, flow rate 30 ml per minute for 5 consecutive weeks in combination with 24.4 ± 3.60 mg prednisolone (mean ± SE per patient per day, baseline dose). During 60 minutes apheresis, 26% of granulocytes, 19.5% of monocytes and 2% of lymphocytes adsorbed to the carriers. At week 7, 58.5% of patients had remission or improved, the dose of prednisolone was reduced to 14.2 ± 2.25 mg (n = 37). The apheresis treatment was fairly safe, only eight non-severe side effects (in 5 patients) were reported. Based on our results, we believe that in patients with active severe UC, patients who are refractory to conventional drugs, granulocyte and monocyte adsorption apheresis is a useful adjunct to conventional therapy. This procedure should have the potential to allow tapering the dose of corticosteroids, shorten the time to remission and delay relapse. J. Clin. Apheresis. 16:1-9, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.