The effects of a rare but potent form of anaemia could be reduced after an experimental new drug successfully completed a UK trial.
Hematide, an erythropoiesis-stimulating agent given to 14 patients over two years, resulted in all but one of the test subjects experiencing an increase in red blood cells and no longer relying upon regular blood transfusions.
The drug targets pure-red cell aplasia, a condition that causes a sudden and severe decrease in the number of red blood cells produced by bone marrow, and which is associated with chronic kidney disease.
Existing treatments rely on costly and time-consuming transfusions, which in themselves carry the risk of infection, stimulate the production of donor kidney-rejecting antibodies and are of limited effectiveness.
The trial, reported in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, was carried out at King’s College Hospital, London – a member of the King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, one of five institutions in the UK which are leading cutting-edge research to improve patient care.
Copyright Press Association 2009