The sickle cell trial grew out of research by Dr. Linden, who is a leading expert on adenosine receptors, which are known to act as a natural brake on inflammation. While Dr. Linden had previously explored adenosine's role in protecting tissues from damage due to low blood flow in single tissues such as in heart disease, he was struck one day with the idea that it might also protect people with sickle cell disease, who suffer tissue damage from poor blood flow to most tissues.
Dr. Linden began testing his theory in mouse models about four years ago and found that adenosine-like compounds significantly reduced the damaging effects of the disease. He was aware of an existing FDA approved adenosine-like drug, Lexiscan that had already been approved for another use. "This was good news since it meant that Lexiscan was known to be safe in humans and could probably gain rapid approval if proven effective in clinical trials as a treatment for sickle cell disease," he said.
Dr. Linden joined forces with Dr. Nathan, who participated in the development of the only existing FDA-approved drug for sickle cell treatment, hydroxyurea, and another clinical collaborator, Dr. Field, to seek NIH funding for the Lexiscan trial. They launched the trial's first phase in 2010 using patient volunteers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Washington University in St. Louis.
In the trial, Dr. Nathan, Dr. Field and other clinicians collected blood from patients and sent it to Dr. Linden in La Jolla for analysis of white blood cell inflammation. Gene Lin, Ph.D., a scientist in Linden's lab, has been a significant contributor to the analysis effort. The same protocol will be used in the trial's second phase.
Lexiscan is approved as a pharmacologic stress agent used for myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI), a procedure that measures coronary blood flow to help in the diagnosis of heart disease. Lexiscan is u
|Contact: Bonnie Ward|
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology