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Lancet study supports new, highly effective treatment for blood disorder
Date:3/20/2009

hs of history with ITP and with low-platelet counts of 30,000 per microliter (L) of blood (normal range is 150,000 to 400,000). The subjects were split into two groups: two-thirds were in an experimental group that received the standard of care with the addition of 50mg of eltrombopag, and a control group received the standard of care and a placebo pill.

By the end of the 43-day testing period, 59 percent of subjects receiving Promacta achieved platelet counts at or over 50,000 per L of blood, compared with 16 percent of subjects in the placebo group. A safe-level platelet count is between 30,000 and 50,000 per L of blood. Promacta subjects were almost 10 times more likely to reach the target platelet counts as the placebo group.

Currently, patients are treated with corticosteroids, such as prednisone, which may have side effects such as fatigue, mood swings and weight gain. Other common treatments include IV anti-D and IV gammaglobulin, and also rituximab. More drastic measures, like surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy) are sometimes taken in order to prevent the body from destroying platelet cells within the organ. However, this may put a patient at risk for blood stream infections because of the spleen's role as a filtering organ of the immune system.

Promacta works by stimulating the production of cells in bone marrow that form platelet cells in the blood. Past studies have shown that the drug boosts platelet counts in both ITP and normal subjects.

Ongoing and future studies will evaluate the safety and efficacy of eltrombopag as a long-term treatment for ITP, and its efficacy and safety in populations like the 4 million Americans with hepatitis-C-related thrombocytopenia or patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy.

Collaborators on the study include: Drew Provan, from Barts and The London School of Medicine, London, U.K.; Tahir Shamsi, from Bismillah Taqee Institute of Health Sciences and Blood Dise
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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