A drug designed to increase red blood cell production in patients with a form of anaemia known as pure-red cell aplasia (PRCA) has been trialled at King’s College Hospital in London.
The New England Journal of Medicine reports that the Affymax drug Hematide resulted in increased cell production in all but one of 14 patients involved in the trial.
PRCA causes a sudden and severe decrease in the number of red blood cells produced by the bone marrow and is associated with chronic kidney disease.
Costly and time-consuming blood transfusions are usually required to treat the condition, which carry risks of infection and organ rejection among kidney patients.That means that additional drugs are often used to suppress the immune system, which in turn can lead to patients developing an even greater risk of infection.
The trial of Hematide, an experimental erythropoiesis-stimulating agent, involved monthly injections over a two-year period.