The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has stopped a clinical trial evaluating a new approach to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke in children with sickle cell anemia and iron overload because of evidence that the new treatment was unlikely to prove better than the existing treatment.
The study tested whether the drug hydroxyurea, known to prevent complications of sickle cell disease in adults, was as effective as transfusions, the standard therapy, in reducing the risk of recurrent strokes. Hydroxyurea is the only FDA-approved drug for treating sickle cell anemia.
The study also compared two approaches to remove excess iron, a consequence of regular blood transfusions. Participants who continued to receive transfusion therapy were given the standard oral iron-removal drug deferasirox, and participants who were switched to hydroxyurea underwent regular phlebotomy (blood removal) to eliminate excess iron that had accumulated from their earlier transfusions.
Phlebotomy did not reduce liver iron better than deferasirox therapy. Analysis of the available data indicated that continuing the trial was unlikely to show that phlebotomy would provide a greater benefit than deferasirox to control iron accumulation. Without the ability to provide benefits for the management of liver iron, the potential risks of continuing study treatments were no longer warranted.
“Protecting our participants is an important factor in determining whether to stop a trial,” said Susan B. Shurin, MD, acting director of the NHLBI, who is a board-certified hematologist and pediatrician. The NHLBI is part of the National Institutes of Health. “When an experimental treatment fails to meet its predetermined goals, it is best to return participants to standard treatment as soon as possible.”
By the time the trial was halted, approximately one-third of participants had completed the study, during which they were treated and monitored for 30 months. At enrollment, participants were randomly assigned to either the alternative or the standard treatment group. The study’s independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) reviewed interim results from the trial and recommended stopping the study. The NHLBI accepted the recommendation and stopped the study on May 6.
The DSMB noted that no strokes occurred in the 66 participants who received the standard therapy of blood transfusions and deferasirox. In contrast, seven strokes occurred in the group of 67 participants who received hydroxyurea with phlebotomy. Study participants and their families have been contacted, and they will discuss future care options with their health care providers.
NHLBI-supported research has shown that hydroxyurea helps prevent pain crises, a common complication of the disease, and some lung complications in adults. Preliminary studies have suggested that hydroxyurea might also help reduce the risk of stroke recurrence in children with sickle cell disease. Patients currently taking hydroxyurea should continue taking the treatment as prescribed and should talk to their primary care provider if they have any concerns, Shurin advised.
Regular blood transfusions greatly reduce the number of strokes in at-risk children with sickle cell disease. Because repeated transfusions cause side effects such as buildup of excess iron in the body, researchers hope to find more effective and safer ways to reduce stroke risk in young patients. Iron overload can damage organs and lead to cirrhosis (a liver condition), poor growth and development, and heart rhythm disturbances.
“These kinds of studies are so important to finding new treatments and confirming that current standards of care are the best available options,” Shurin explained. “The field of medicine would not advance without the help of those willing to participate in clinical research. We are grateful to these young patients and their parents for helping advance treatments of sickle cell disease. Their contributions will help us find other approaches to preventing complications of sickle cell disease.”
About 10 percent of children with sickle cell disease suffer a stroke. Having experienced one, they are at high risk of having another unless they receive preventive treatment.
Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 Americans. It is seen mostly in persons of African descent, but also in individuals of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Central and South American, and Asian Indian heritage. New therapies have helped patients live into middle age and older. Sickle cell disease involves an altered gene that produces abnormal hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Red blood cells with sickle hemoglobin become C-shaped, stiff, and sticky when they release the oxygen they carry.The deformed cells impede blood flow, causing severe pain and organ damage.
Press Release on Consensus Document http://public.nhlbi.nih.gov/newsroom/home/GetPressRelease.aspx?id=2552
NHLBI Communications Office | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy