Platelet E-News: January 21, 2011

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

 

TPO AGENTS IMPROVE IMMUNE FUNCTIONING

Regulatory T cells (Tregs), a type of white blood cell, help control the autoimmune response. In a surprising finding, the thrombopoietin agents, eltrombopag, romiplostim, and AKR5 01, improved the Treg profile of a small group of treated ITP patients compared to healthy controls and those diagnosed with ITP before they had any treatment. It is unclear how these TPO agents improved the immune system, but this may explain why some patients on these treatments go into remission and can discontinue therapy.

Bao W et al. “Improved regulatory T-cell activity in patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenia treated with thrombopoietic agents.” Blood. 2010 Nov 25;116(22):4639-45.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20688957

Chong BH. “ITP: Tregs come to the rescue” Blood. 2010 Nov 25;116(22):In 4388-90.

 

 

SWEDISH COMPANY GETS FULL DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS FOR NEW ITP TREATMENT

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi) and Symphogen co-developed rozrolimupab (SYM001), a polyclonal composed of 25 different antibodies to Rhesus D (anti-D), to be used for the treatment of ITP and prevention of hemolytic disease in newborns. Now Sobi has returned full development rights to Symphogen for this product. The phase II clinical trial for the use of SYM001 in ITP is enrolling patients.

“Swedish Orphan Biovitrum Drops Joint Project with Symphogen” Marketwire - December 30, 2010
http://www.biospace.com/news_story.aspx?NewsEntityId=206299

Open Label Trial on the Safety and Efficacy of Sym001 in the Treatment of Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00718692

For more information on anti-D see:
http://www.pdsa.org/treatments/conventional/anti-d.html

 

 

LOW-DOSE RITUXIMAB PLUS ALENMTUZUMAB FOUND HELPFUL

When single treatments fail, physicians often try combinations, in this study the combination of a low-dose, 100mg, of rituximab (Rituxan) once weekly for four weeks plus 10mg of alemtuzumab (Campath) on the first three days. Alemtuzumab is used in the treatment of some leukemia and lymphoma patients and has shown promise in treating other autoimmune diseases. Of the 19 patients in the study (11 with ITP, 8 with immune hemolytic anemia) 58% had a complete response that lasted from 16 to 89 weeks. However, six people developed infections.

Gómez-Almaguer D et al. “Low-dose rituximab and alemtuzumab combination therapy for patients with steroid-refractory autoimmune cytopenias.” Blood. 2010 Dec 2;116(23):4783-5.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20841509

See also:
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00749112

 

 

IMMATURE PLATELET COUNT MAY SEPARATE LEUKEMIA FROM ITP

Researchers calculated the immature platelet percent (IPF%) and number (IPF#) for100 healthy children and 87 children who had various low-platelet diseases. They found the IPF% was low in those children with bone marrow production problems and high in children with ITP, representing increased platelet turnover in the ITP group. Children with acute lymphocytic leukemia also had high IPF%, but only children with ITP had a low number of immature platelets (IPF#). The authors suggest that the number and percent of immature platelets can help separate ITP from other low-platelet diseases.

Strauß G et al. “Immature platelet count: A simple parameter for distinguishing thrombocytopenia in pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia from immune thrombocytopenia.” Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2010 Dec 22.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21181882

 

 

 

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

 

RARE DISEASE RESEARCH GETS A BOOST

The prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a consensus report, Rare Diseases and Orphan Products: Accelerating Research and Development, to help guide policymakers in addressing the challenges of rare disease research. To assist the millions of people diagnosed with a rare disease, this 350-page report, supported by the NIH and FDA, suggests an integrated approach to rare diseases involving government, industry, academia, and non-profits, along with the establishment of a new task force within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Note: ITP is considered a rare disease.

http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2010/Rare-Diseases-and-Orphan-Products-Accelerating-Research-and-Development.aspx

 

 

SCIENTIFIC TRUTHS: DIFFICULT TO DETERMINE

The scientific method is coming under increased scrutiny as many research studies are contradicted by further research, making it difficult to know what to believe. Sometimes, to their dismay, scientists are unable to replicate their own research. This phenomenon is exaggerated by “significance chasing”, looking for the data within a dataset that is most important, and the desire for journals to publish the most exciting, positive results.

Lehrer, J. “The Truth Wears Off:Is there something wrong with the scientific method.” The New Yorker December 13, 2010. 52-57.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer

Freedman DH, “Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science, “The Atlantic Magazine, November 10, 2010.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/

Ioannidis, JP, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False,” PLoS Med. 2005 August; 2(8): e124.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/

 

 

 

General Health and Medicine

 

MORE SUGAR FOUND IN SODA

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is thought to contribute to obesity and diabetes. In the past, it was assumed that HFCS used in sodas contained 55% fructose, a type of sugar. However, in a controlled analysis from an independent laboratory, researchers found that the HFCS used in several major brands of soda contained 65% fructose and that the total sugar content was up to 128% more than what was listed on the label.

Ventura EE, “Sugar Content of Popular Sweetened Beverages Based on Objective Laboratory Analysis: Focus on Fructose Content.” Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Oct 14.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20948525

 

 

SCENTED PRODUCTS EMIT HARMFUL ODORS

More than 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some that are considered toxic or hazardous, were found in scented consumer products such as air fresheners, dryer sheets, soaps, detergents, and shampoos. This was also true for some labeled green, organic, or natural. Each product tested emitted at least one and as many as eight hazardous chemicals. Nearly half of the products released at least one carcinogenic chemical. These dangerous compounds were not listed on the product labels.

Potera C 2011. “Scented Products Emit a Bouquet of VOCs.” Environ Health Perspect 119:a16-a16. doi:10.1289/ehp.119-a16.
http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.119-a16

 

 

 

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