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Making treatment of rare blood disorder more affordable and effective
Date:2/27/2014

Eculizumab is costly (currently the most expensive drug used in the US at more than $400,000 per year per patient), and one third of PNH patients continue to require blood transfusions to manage their anemia. As first described by co-author Antonio Risitano, MD, at the University of Naples in Italy, this non-response is due to fragments of complement C3 proteins on the surface of their red blood cells, which are eventually attacked by immune cells.

Lambris and colleagues have thought that inhibition of the "complement cascade" at the level of C3 proteins using small inhibitory molecules might be a superior strategy as it prevents both hemolysis and immune cell recognition while being potentially more cost-effective when compared to the current antibody-based treatment.

The team investigated the effect of a C3 inhibitor called Cp40 and its long-acting form PEG-Cp40 on self attack and resulting hemolysis using human PNH cells. Both compounds demonstrated inhibition of hemolysis and efficiently prevented deposition of C3 fragments on PNH red blood cells. In non-human primates, a single injection of PEG-Cp40 into the blood stream resulted in a longer time that the drug stayed in circulation, a property important for drug development.

"We think these two compounds are excellent and potentially cost-effective candidates for further clinical investigation," says Lambris, who hopes that the compounds could be tested in clinical trials by 2015.


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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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