Platelet E-News – September 21, 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

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ITP Research and Treatments

GERMAN BIOPHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY DEVELOPING NEW TREATMENT FOR ITP AND OTHER AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES
A new treatment for ITP is under development at SuppreMol, a privately held German biopharmaceutical company. Dubbed SM101, the intravenous substance works differently than other treatments for ITP: it is designed to block the antibodies from attaching to the surface of the platelets. SM101 is currently in Phase 1 safety testing on healthy volunteers. Phase 1b/II, continuing the safety evaluation and determining the effectiveness of the treatment, is scheduled to start by the end of 2009. SuppreMol recently received a grant of 1 million euros to explore additional ways of administering the treatment and other autoimmune diseases that may benefit from this approach.

http://www.suppremol.de/index.php?id=technology_products

DRUG-INDUCED ANTIBODIES CAN INTERFERE WITH PLATELET PRODUCTION
When platelets drop after taking a medication, it was assumed that the antibody- coated platelets prompted by the drug affected only the circulating platelets. A new study by researchers in Germany and Utah showed that antibodies in a patient taking eptifibatide, a drug designed to inhibit platelet action, damaged the megakaryocytes, the cells in the bone marrow that make platelets, prompting a prolonged bout of low platelets. This research provides further evidence that anti-platelet antibodies can inhibit platelet production.

Greinacher A, et al, “Megakaryocyte impairment by eptifibatide-induced antibodies causes prolonged thrombocytopenia”, Blood. 2009 Aug 6; 114(6):1250-3

Aster, R, “Double Jeopardy”, Blood. 2009 Aug 6; 114(6):1135-6.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19429867

ARTICLE ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ITP TREATMENTS NOW ONLINE
“Management of ITP: Advantages and disadvantages of standard treatments,” the fourth monograph in a CME educational series on ITP, is now available for viewing on the Hematology Times Web site. Other monographs include information on normal and abnormal platelet behavior and diagnosis of ITP. While the monographs are primarily designed for physicians, they are available for all to see with a free sign-on.

http://www.hematologytimes.com/ht/cme/itp-overview-monographs.jsp

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Hospitals, Insurance, and Medical Care

GLOBALIZATION CREATES NEW CHALLENGES FOR FDA IN MONITORING DRUGS
Assuring the quality of drugs is becoming more difficult for the FDA since imported ingredients are being used more frequently in prescription and generic medications. Although the FDA has trained additional international investigators and stationed staff members in large overseas manufacturing areas, the agency is having a difficult time investigating the number of adverse events and monitoring the generic market. Large health plans such as Kaiser are now using their databases to help monitor medication problems.

Okie, S, “Multinational medicines--ensuring drug quality in an era of global manufacturing,” N Engl J Med. 2009 Aug 20; 361(8):737-40

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/361/8/737

NIH DATA SHOW AMERICANS SPENT ABOUT $34 BILLION ON ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IN 2007
The estimated $34 billion Americans spent on alternative medicine in 2007 was 11% of total out-of-pocket spending on health care and about 1.5 % of total health care expenditures in the United States, according to the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Two-thirds of the total costs was for self-care therapies (no office visit required). About 38% of adults and 11% of children under 18 used complementary or alternative medicine. These statistics are based on a survey of 23,393 people and update the information from the last survey of this type done in 1997.

“Americans spent about $34 billion on alternative medicine in 2007,” HemOnc Today, July 31, 2009

http://www.hemonctoday.com/article.aspx?rid=42369

http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/costs/

COORDINATING PATIENT CARE ACROSS SETTINGS BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT
A hospitalist is a doctor, usually with primary care training, who specializes in caring for patients in the hospital. The number of hospitalists in the U.S. has grown dramatically since 1995; in 2006 about 20% of general practitioners were hospitalists. While this trend has helped to stabilize physician lifestyles and provided a modest decrease in hospital costs and lengths-of-stay, it has also created some challenges while transferring care between the physician dealing with the patient outside of the hospital and the hospitalist. Good communication and implementation of electronic medical records help mitigate this physician- transition issue.

Hamel, MB, et al. “The growth of hospitalists and the changing face of primary care,” N Engl J Med. 2009 Mar 12; 360(11):1141-3.

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/360/11/1141

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General Health and Medicine

FOOD PREPARATION ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES DETRIMENTAL TO OUR HEALTH
Michael Pollan, best-selling food writer, once again provides insight into how diet and lifestyle changes affect our health, this time in a very readable article in the New York Times Magazine. According to research he cites in the article, the rise in food preparation outside of the home predicts the rate of obesity; Women who cooked more were likely to eat a more healthy diet; Microwave ovens are now used in 90% of homes and packaged food accounts for 80% of what Americans eat. These facts and the popularity of TV shows such as “Iron Chef” point to a shift in food preparation attitudes and practices that are detrimental to our health.

Pollan, M. “Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch,” The New York Times Magazine, Aug. 2, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/magazine/02cooking-t.html

Also mentioned in the Healing Cuisine Newsletter, www.healingcuisine.com

VITAMIN K SHOWN TO BE ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTHY ARTERIES
Vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for blood clotting, helps maintain healthy arteries and may also promote mineralization of bones. In a study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 388 healthy men and women were given either a vitamin K pill or a placebo. Those taking the vitamin K pill showed less cardiovascular disease than the placebo group. The best food source of vitamin K is kale, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

“Vitamin K is Essential for Healthy Arteries,” Weill Cornell Medical College Health and Fitness Advisor, v. 12, n. 9, September, 2009

Shea, MK, “Vitamin K supplementation and progression of coronary artery calcium in older men and women,” Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Jun 2009; 89: 1799 - 1807.

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/6/1799

(Note: See the summer 2007 issue of The Platelet News for articles on the benefits of kale for people with ITP
http://www.pdsa.org/itp-information/pdsa-products-publications.html )

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