Platelet E-News – May 18, 2009

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.

Contents:

ITP Research and Treatments

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

General Health and Medicine

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Health and Medicine

MOLECULAR MIMICRY PLAYS ROLE IN HEPATITIS C-ASSOCIATED THROMBOCYTOPENIA
Just like insects that pose as sticks to fool their would-be captors, viruses may attempt to elude the antibodies that seek to destroy them by mimicking parts of the body's essential proteins. In the April 29 issue of the journal Blood, a research team led by Dr. Wei Zhang at NYU discovered the part of the Hepatitis C virus (PHC09) that mimics the GPIIIa49-66 area on platelets. When antibodies are produced that appropriately attack the virus in someone infected with Hepatitis C, the antibodies also attack platelets causing them to fragment and be removed from circulation.

Richard Aster; “Molecular mimicry and immune thrombocytopenia,” Blood, 23 April 2009, v. 113, no. 17, p. 3887

Wei Zhang, et al; “Role of molecular mimicry of Hepatitis C virus protein with platelet GPIIIa in Hepatitis C-related immunologic thrombocytopenia” Blood 23 April 2009, Vol. 113, no. 17, pp. 4086-4093

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19023115

ELTROMBOPAG CONSIDERED EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC ITP IN PHASE III STUDY
Of the 114 patients who participated in a phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of eltrombopag, reported by Dr. James Bussel et al, in the Feb. 21, 2009 issue of Lancet, 59% of the eltrombopag patients and 16% of the placebo patients had platelet counts greater than 50,000/mcl at the end of the 43-day study. Patients receiving eltrombopag, a pill that stimulates the bone marrow to produce more platelets, also had less bleeding than the placebo patients. Two weeks after discontinuing eltrombopag, platelet counts generally returned to their pre-treatment level.

Bussel, JB et al, “Effect of eltrombopag on platelet counts and bleeding during treatment of chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 2009 Feb 21:373 (9664):607-8

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19231632

POST-SPLENECTOMY STUDY EXAMINES POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN SPLEEN AND BLOOD VESSEL PROBLEMS
In the past, several studies concluded that splenectomized patients had increased blood vessel complications such as blood clots in veins and arteries or high blood pressure in the arteries that supply the lungs. However, most of the patients in these studies had other diseases so it was difficult to determine whether the splenectomy or their underlying disease caused the problems. Dr. George Buchanan’s group in Dallas examined the records of splenectomized trauma patients to learn if they also experienced vascular complications. Unfortunately, the Dallas study reached no conclusions since the trauma patients were difficult to assess due to further complications from the trauma or difficulty with follow-up. Cooperation from a larger number of trauma centers is required to further assess post-splenectomy blood vessel complications.

Patricia Purcell et al, “Post-splenectomy vascular complications: Feasibility of studying patients with splenectomy following trauma: Letter to the American Journal of Hematology, Feb. 27, 2009, p. 316-317.

NEW ANTI-CD20 TREATMENT, VELTUZUMAB, IN CLINICAL TRIALS FOR ITP
Veltuzumab is more effective with a shorter infusion time and fewer side effects than rituximab (Rituxan), the anti-CD20 treatment frequently used to treat ITP and other diseases, according to the developer, Immunomedics, and licensee, Nycomed. Veltuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is given by low-dose injection under the skin. For information on the Veltuzumab phase I/II clinical trial for ITP see: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00547066.

Milani C et al, “Veltuzumab, an anti-CD20 mAb for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and immune thrombocytopenic purpura” Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2009 Apr; 11 (2):200-7.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19330725

ITP CLINICAL TRIAL USING TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE INGREDIENT
The PhytoHealth Corporation in Taiwan, in conjunction with Pharmagenesis in California, has developed a pharmaceutical-grade injectable treatment, PG2, based on an active ingredient in Astragalus membranaceus, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. Early tests suggest that PG2 improves general vitality and prompts bone marrow stem cells to create more white cells, red cells, and platelets. For information on the PG2 clinical trial see:

http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00860600 http://www.pharmagenesis.net/PG2.htm

http://www.phytohealth.com.tw/en/newsroom_details.php?id=139

back to top of pageBack to Top

Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

ONLY TWO PERCENT OF U.S. HOSPITALS SURVEYED HAD COMPREHENSIVE ELECTRONIC RECORDS SYSTEMS
Policy makers face significant hurdles if all hospitals are to implement a comprehensive electronic records system, one that is used in all clinical units, concluded Ashish Jha in a New England Journal of Medicine survey. Only 2% of the hospitals reported a comprehensive system, another 7.6% listed a system in at least one clinical unit, and medication order entry was available in 17%. Larger hospitals, teaching hospitals, and those in urban areas were more likely to have electronic medical records systems. Responses listed the high cost of installation and maintenance as significant barriers to use.

Ashish Jha, et al. “Use of Electronic Health Records in US Hospitals.” New England Journal of Medicine, April 16, 2009, vol. 360, no. 16:1628-1638

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19321858

NEW FDA WEB PAGE PROVIDES LATEST DRUG SAFETY INFORMATION
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched a new section of their web site, http://www.fda.gov/cder/drugsafety.htm, to provide consumers and physicians centralized information for drugs that have been approved and are currently being marketed. The comprehensive site contains information on drug safety, labels, risk evaluations, clinical trials, warnings, recalls, and adverse event reporting. .

DRUG MANUFACTURER ISSUES RECALL OF COMMONLY USED ANTIBIOTIC
Nitrofurantoin (Monohydrate/Macrocrystals) capsules, an antibiotic usually prescribed to treat urinary tract infections, is being voluntarily recalled in the U.S. by Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals in Florida, a subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited, India’s largest pharmaceutical company. According to Ranbaxy, the non-conforming capsules are unlikely to produce serious adverse events although they may lead to nausea and vomiting. Patients taking Nitrofurantoin are asked to consult their physicians to discuss other treatment options.

http://www.prnewswire.com/

http://www.drugs.com/news/ranbaxy-voluntarily-recalls-nitrofurantoin-capsules-u-s-17559.html

back to top of pageBack to Top

General Health and Medicine

SCIENTISTS IN GERMANY FIND PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES MAY POSE HEALTH HAZARD
PET plastics, the kind used in water bottles, may leach hormone-disrupting (estrogenic) chemicals into the water concludes Martin Wagner of Goethe University in Frankfort, Germany. Using specialized yeast that change color in the presence of estrogen-like compounds, the researchers found estrogenic activity in seven of nine plastic bottles compared to three of nine glass bottles. They repeated the experiment substituting snails and another liquid instead of water and reached the same conclusion: an estrogen-like compound was leaching from the plastic water bottles.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/04/28/water-bottles-health-print.html

A POSITIVE OUTLOOK HELPS OLDER ADULTS LIVE LONGER, STAY HEALTHIER, AND HAVE A BETTER MEMORY
Viewing aging as a positive experience can add years to your life concludes a study reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, where survey participants with positive attitudes on aging lived roughly 7.5 years longer than their negative thinking counterparts. Other studies found that positive thinkers walked faster, had a better memory when viewed as knowledgeable and wise rather than senile or confused, and had improved immunity.

“Attitude is Everything with Aging,” Self Healing, September 2006

STUDIES SHOW WE NEED MORE OF THE “SUNSHINE VITAMIN” TO STAY HEALTHY
Getting enough vitamin D can relieve backaches, ward off cancer, and deter diabetes whereas insufficient vitamin D can damage your heart, weaken bones, increase depression and perhaps shorten your life, conclude various vitamin D studies. Many researchers believe that the current guidelines of 200 to 600 IU daily are inadequate and 1,000 IU is a better target. Vitamin D is found in fish, fortified dairy products, and supplements and is increased by just being out in the sun. (Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before you take supplements or make stark changes to your diet or lifestyle)

Danielle Kosecki, “The New Supervitamin,” December 2008, Prevention.com

back to top of pageBack to Top

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This e-newsletter is published by the Platelet Disorder Support Association, 133 Rollins Avenue, Suite 5, Rockville, MD 20852, phone 1-87-Platelet, fax: 301-770-6638, web: http://www.pdsa.org, e-mail: pdsa@pdsa.org

To unsubscribe: send an email to: admin@pdsa.org and place ‘remove’ in the subject line. To change your e-mail address, send an e-mail with your old and new address to: admin@pdsa.org

back to top

BBB Cleveland logo GuideStar Seal NORD Member Badge 2018THSNA logo