Platelet E-News – February 16, 2004

This e-newsletter is a monthly publication of The Platelet Disorder Support Association. The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. For advice on your unique medical condition, please consult a health care professional.


  • Updated Clinical Trials List
  • Farmed Salmon Contains Contaminants
  • The Benefits of Mindfulness
  • Helicobacter Pylori: NYC Results
  • Platelet Production Reduced in ITP
  • Vitamin D and Multiple Sclerosis
  • If you have chronic ITP - did you know you have treatment options (advertisement)
  • Herbal Treatment (advertisement)



We are often asked, “How can I assist with ITP research?” One way is to participate in a clinical trial.

We have several major clinical trials listed on our clinical trials page ( that are open for enrollment. They include:

AMG 531- Part B of "An Open-label, Dose-finding Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Amgen Megakaryopoiesis Protein 2 in Thrombocytopenic Subjects With Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura" is now enrolling patients. There will be 10 study sites participating. For more information and to find a study site near you see
Preliminary results from Part A of this study have been promising. See and place "AMG 531" in the search box to view the abstract from the 2003 American Society of Hematology meeting.
Rituximab in Children - The purpose of this study is to formally evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Rituximab in children and adolescents with severe or refractory ITP. For general information and a reference for parents, see

More specific inquiries (from MDs) may be addressed to Pamela Boardman, Study Coordinator, Children's Hospital Boston 617-355-2901;

Daclizumab - Hematologists are testing a new monoclonal antibody treatment (Daclizumab) for people with ITP. The study may help increase platelet counts, reduce bleeding symptoms, and reduce or discontinue immunosuppressive medications. The study takes place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, right outside of Washington, DC. Please call for more information: (301) 496-515. See:;jsessionid=C732EB24588

Enbrel - "Prospective Trial of Etanercept (Enbrel) in the Treatment of Chronic Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) in Children and Adults". This a pilot study of a commonly used arthritis drug that may help people with chronic ITP. Study sites include Comprehensive Bleeding Disorders Center, Peoria, IL and Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA. The treatment phase of the study will last twelve weeks, the observation phase for 6 months. For further information Dr. Michael Tarantino at or call 309-692-4533.


Compared with wild salmon, salmon farmed in Europe and North America has significantly more contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) and 13 other organic chemicals report researchers at Indiana University. The researchers recommend limiting consumption to no more than one serving per month. Farmed salmon now accounts for the majority of salmon available in supermarkets. More than 1 billion kilograms are farmed each year worldwide.

Science News January 24, 2004, Vol 165

(Note: Many pollutants have been shown to exacerbate or potentially cause autoimmune diseases see:


“The ability to pay attention to what you’re experiencing from moment to moment- without drifting into thoughts of the past or the future, or getting caught up in the opinions of what is going on- is called mindfulness” According to the “Harvard Women’s Health Watch” cultivating mindfulness can expand your capacity to cope with illness and possibly improve your health. One form of mindfulness practice is called mindfulness meditation. This type of meditation is the subject on several books and classes.

Harvard Women’s Health Watch, Vol. 11, No. 6, Feb. 2004

See also:


Researchers at the Weill Medical Center of Cornell University in New York City tested 74 patients with ITP. They found H pylori infection in 16 of the patients. They eradicated H pylori in 15 of the 16 patients. As a result of the treatment for H pylori, the platelet count increased in only one of them. These results conflict with previously published results from other countries showing a positive platelet response in a larger percent of H pylori infected ITP patients when the H pylori is treated successfully. The authors hypothesized several reasons for this discrepancy including variations in the patients’ immune system, different strains of H pylori, and different anti-bodies associated with the H pylori infection. Future studies should be large, randomized and track other parameters that could be important determinants in response.

Marc Michel et al, Blood, 1 February 2004, Vol.103, No. 3


In a comparison of blood from healthy donors and ITP patients, blood from 12 of 18 ITP patients showed a significant decrease in megakaryocyte production. (Megakaryocytes are cells in your bone marrow that produce platelets) In this test tube experiment, researchers from the Scripps Research Institute found that blood from ITP patients showed a decrease in the total numbers of megakaryocytes produced during the incubation period. They also found an impairment in megakaryocyte maturation resulting in reduced platelet production per megakaryocyte. These results are most likely due to ITP antibodies. The author’s suggest a similar effect may occur in the bodies of ITP patients.

Blood, 15 February 2004, Vol 103, No. 4


Women who consume little vitamin D develop multiple sclerosis (MS) at a rate about 50 percent higher than those who consume a high amount of the nutrient. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the vitamin D intake from diet and multivitamins in 187,563 women. Of these, 173 developed MS. About 50% more of these women were in the least vitamin D intake group compared with the highest intake group. Previous studies found that many MS patients are deficient in vitamin D. It is not known whether vitamin D deficiency precedes the onset of MS or is the result of the disease. MS is more prevalent far from the equator where less of the sun’s ultraviolet light is available for people’s bodies to make vitamin D.

Science News January 31, 2004, Vol 165

Note: In our May 28, 2002 version of our e-news we reported “Researchers studying autoimmune liver disease report that Vitamin D appears to be an immune system modulator.”

Several people with ITP mentioned to us that they felt better when they spent some time in the sun. If you feel that sunlight has an effect on your ITP (positive or negative), please write to

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