Platelet E-News: September 21, 2010

This e-newsletter is a monthly publication of the Platelet Disorder Support Association. The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. For advice on your unique medical condition, please consult a health care professional.

Contents:

ITP Research and Treatments

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

General Health and Medicine

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ITP Research and Treatments

 

ELTROMBOPAG (PROMACTA®) FOUND EFFECTIVE FOR PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC ITP

In a study of 197 ITP patients with platelet counts less than 30,000, 79% of those taking eltrombopag responded to the treatment at least once during the 6-month study compared to 28% in the placebo group. A larger percentage of those in the eltrombopag group reduced their other medications and a smaller percentage needed rescue treatment or experienced bleeding events. A slightly larger number of those in the treatment group had elevated liver enzymes and thromboembolic events.

Cheng G et al, “Eltrombopag for management of chronic immune thrombocytopenia (RAISE): a 6-month, randomised, phase 3 study.” Lancet. 2010 Aug 23.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20739054

 

 

VELTUZUMAB RAISES PLATELET COUNTS IN MAJORITY OF ITP PATIENTS

ITP took the spotlight at the Immunomedics, Inc. annual meeting with a report of the preliminary results of an ITP clinical trial for veltuzumab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody similar to Rituxan but delivered under the skin. Of the 25 patients tested, the overall response rate was 69%, with those diagnosed less than a year achieving more favorable results. Five of the six patients who had a complete response continue to maintain a high platelet count. Immunomedics is seeking FDA approval for using veltuzumab to treat ITP. The clinical trial for veltuzumbab is ongoing.

Immunomedics Inc. Reports Operating Results (10-K)
http://www.gurufocus.com/news.php?id=105622

Study of Veltuzumab (hA20) at Different Doses in Patients with ITP
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00547066

 

 

TPO DRUGS (NPLATE® AND PROMACTA®) IN TOP SEVEN TOPICS FOR HEMATOLOGISTS

The thrombopoietin mimetics, TPO drugs romiplostim (NPlate®) and eltrombopag (Promacta®), new treatments for ITP, are one of the seven hot topics in hemostasis and thrombosis according to the editors of HemOnc Today. “These agents are extremely promising in the therapy of ITP, but it remains to be known exactly how they will be combined with prednisone, IVIg, and anti-CD20 [ex. Rituxan®]…in the treatment of ITP,” concludes Joel Moake, MD.

Note: You can learn more about these treatments on the PDSA Web site at
http://www.pdsa.org/treatments/conventional/platelet-growth-factors.html

Moake J, “Hot topics in hemostasis-thrombosis for 2010.” HemOnc Today, June 10, 2010.
http://www.hemonctoday.com/article.aspx?rid=65397

 

 

 

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

 

HIGHER RISK OF FEVER AND CONVULSION IN CHILDREN WHO RECEIVE THE MMRV VACCINE

Children receiving the MMRV vaccine, the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine with varicella (chickenpox) components, are twice as likely to get fevers that lead to convulsions, according to a medical record analysis of about 460,000 children in a database of eight managed-care organizations. Dr. Nicola Klein, the study’s lead investigator, suggests: “Unless parents have a strong preference for the combination vaccine, providers should use a separate vaccine.”

Rabin R, “Childhood: Combination Vaccine and Seizure Risk.” New York Times June 28, 2010.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/health/research/29child.html

Centers for Disease Control “MMRV and Febrile Seizures”
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/mmrv/studyfeature.html

Klein NP, “Measles-mumps-rubella-varicella combination vaccine and the risk of febrile seizures.” Pediatrics. 2010 Jul;126 (1):e1-8.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20587679

 

 

LARGEST INSURERS ARE TESTING HEALTH PLANS THAT LIMIT CHOICES

Some large insurers and companies with employer-funded health plans are testing new health insurance programs that reduce medical costs by narrowing the choice of doctors and hospitals. In these plans, those who want to visit a doctor or hospital outside of the designated selections might pay higher insurance premiums, higher co-pays, or the entire cost of the visit or hospital stay. To prevent a consumer backlash, insurers are emphasizing that the plans consider the quality of care and not just lower costs when choosing the participating doctors and hospitals.

Abelson R, “Insurers Push Plans That Limit Choice of Doctor.” New York Times July 17, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/business/18choice.html

 

 

NEW NANOSENSOR BREATH TEST COULD DETECT COMMON CANCERS

Cancerous tumors can prompt the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be measured and used for diagnosis, report scientists in Israel who have developed a new, sensitive sensor. To verify their theory, they tested the breath of 177 volunteers for VOCs associated with lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers and found they could separate those with healthy and cancerous breath. If large studies confirm their initial findings, their nanosensor could be an easy way to screen for cancer, measure the effectiveness of treatments, or detect relapse. The new tool could make cancer detection inexpensive, portable, and non-invasive.

“Simple breath test may detect various cancers” HemOnc Today, August 18, 2010.
http://www.hemonctoday.com/article.aspx?rid=67697

 

 

 

General Health and Medicine

 

VITAMIN K OFFERS BENEFITS BESIDES A HEALTHY BLOOD CLOTTING SYSTEM

In addition to its role in forming blood clots, Vitamin K can help protect against arterial calcification (leading to cardiovascular disease and varicose veins), osteoporosis, prostate/lung/liver cancer, leukemia, and dementia. Vitamin K comes in two forms: K1 found in green vegetables and K2 found in fermented foods such as cheese and natto, fermented soybeans. Both forms of vitamin K are now available as a supplement.

Mercola, “This Could Be Even BIGGER than the Vitamin D Discovery…” August 26, 2010.
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/26/this-could-be-even-bigger-than-the-vitamin-d-discovery.aspx

 

 

BERRY EXTRACT CARRIES OUT VITAL ‘HOUSEKEEPING’ TO PROTECT THE BRAIN

As we age the brain becomes less efficient at collecting toxic debris, which can lead to the build-up of proteins linked to mental decline. Now scientists at Tufts University in Boston found that adding blueberry, strawberry, and acai berry extract to brain cells in culture and to the food of laboratory rats increased the autophagic, protein-clearing process and, in the rats, reversed age-related deficits in learning and memory. Since the extract amount used was quite high, more research is needed to determine if a more dilute berry extract will prompt the same phenomenon when tested in people.

Brooks M, “New Mechanism for Berries' Potential Brain Benefits Uncovered.” Medscape August 31, 2010.
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/727764

 

 

 

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