PDSA E-News: July 31, 2015



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Last week PDSA hosted another outstanding ITP conference. 250 ITP patients, caregivers and medical professionals were in attendance. Photos from the conference will be posted soon. Please save the Date for ITP Conference 2016 in Orlando, Florida - July 8-10, 2016.




Platelet Antibody Findings Yield New Treatments for ITP

Mouse in laboratoryThe severity of ITP and effectiveness of treatments vary from patient to patient. A new Canadian study shows why there is such variance in both. Platelet surfaces are covered with thousands of different proteins. Each type of antibody targets a specific protein on the platelet. When the first antibody finds a platelet it latches on and leads the platelet to an organ in the body where the platelet will be destroyed. Originally it was thought all ITP antibodies lead platelets to the spleen to be destroyed. Most previous treatments for ITP were to prevent antibodies from destroying platelets in the spleen.

Dr. Heyu Ni, researcher at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto, said some antibodies destroy platelets in the liver, not in the spleen. Research studies with mice found that antibodies targeting the GPIb (pronounced ‘G P 1 b’) protein lead to platelet destruction in the liver. However, antibodies targeting the GPIIbIIIa (pronounced ‘G P 2 b 3 a’) protein caused platelet destruction in the spleen. By detecting the specific antibodies in an ITP patient, doctors may be able to determine where and how the immune system will attack platelets. Dr. Ni said, “… because we now know the liver’s immune response destroys platelets that are covered with GPIb, we may be able to design new therapies to stop this type of destruction.” He said certain drugs, like Tamiflu, might be able to prevent the liver’s immune response to platelets. Additional tests with human blood samples showed Tamiflu may inhibit destruction of platelets with antibodies that target GPIb. Some ITP patients around the world have now been treated with Tamiflu for their ITP. However, more research is needed.

Heyu Ni, et al. “Desialylation is a mechanism of Fc-independent platelet clearance and a therapeutic target in immune thrombocytopenia.” Nature Communications 6, Article number: 7737 doi:10.1038/ncomms8737.

“Study in mice may identify new ways to treat immune thrombocytopenia.” Report provided by St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada. July 17, 2015.


FDA Gives Orphan Drug Designation to Protalex for PRTX-100 to Treat ITP

Protalex logoResearch to find new drug treatments for ITP has moved forward…The biopharmaceutical company Protalex, Inc. received Orphan Drug Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead product, PRTX-100, which is a highly purified form of Staphylococcal Protein A. This new designation will give Protalex incentive to continue testing the drug, helping move it closer to FDA approval if it performs well in ITP patients. PRTX-100, unlike the newest treatments for ITP on the market (Nplate and Promacta, which increase platelet production but do not stop platelet destruction) may have the potential to treat ITP by reducing immune-mediated platelet destruction. PRTX-100 has already established an acceptable safety profile from patient data in five other clinical studies. Protalex will be enrolling ITP patients in Phase I/II clinical trials of PRTX-100 in 2015 and 2016.

“Protalex Receives Orphan Drug Designation from FDA for PRTX-100 to Treat Immune Thrombocytopenia.” Protalex Press Release: June 16, 2015.




The First Spray-Dried Fibrin Sealant is FDA - Approved for Bleeding during Surgery

RaplixaSometimes during surgery surgical techniques such as sutures, ligatures or cauterizations, are not effective or are not practical to stop bleeding. Now the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Raplixa, a fibrin sealant, for use in humans, to help control bleeding during surgery. This is the first spray-dried fibrin sealant to receive FDA approval. Raplixa is manufactured by ProFibrix BV (subsidiary of The Medicines Company, in New Jersey). Raplixa is a biological agent that is dissolved in the blood and brings about a reaction between fibrinogen and thrombin proteins, which leads to clot formation that helps stop the bleeding. Fibrinogen and thrombin are two proteins found in human plasma. They are purified in a process that inactivates and removes viruses to prevent blood-borne viral transmissions. The fibrin sealant components are spray-dried, blended and packed into vials. The new sealant is used along with an absorbable gelatin sponge. Results reviewed by FDA came from an 11-month study in over 700 patients undergoing various surgeries.

“FDA approves Raplixa to help control bleeding during surgery.” FDA News Release, US Food and Drug Administration, April 30, 2015.




Eating Dark Chocolate Boosts Brain Attention Levels

Dark chocolateAnother good reason to have some chocolate. A new study found that eating 60 percent cacao dark chocolate improved brain attention levels and increased blood pressure levels for a short time. The North Arizona University study of 122 adults also found that including L-theanine (an amino acid found in green tea) in the chocolate that participants ate resulted in a lowering of blood pressure and feelings of peace and calm. This was the first ever EEG study of chocolate consumption and its effects on the brain. The researchers said a regular chocolate bar with high sugar and milk content won’t be as good at producing these effects.

Northern Arizona University. "Eat dark chocolate to beat the midday slump?" ScienceDaily, 8 May 2015.

Michelle Montopoli, Larry C Stevens, et.al. “The Acute Electrocortical and Blood Pressure Effects of Chocolate.” Neuro Regulation, 2015.




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August 5: ITP Parents Teleconference

September 10: Cleveland, OH
September 16: Canadian Teleconference
September 19: Central/North NJ
September 26: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX





Pump it Up for Platelets
August, 2015: August Challenge
September 19, 2015: 
Chicago, IL
September 26, 2015: Half Marathon - East Hampton, NY
September 27, 2015: Everett, WA
November 21, 2015: Pedal for Platelets El Tour de Tucson, AZ
TBD: Cleveland, OH


 New Awareness Items

PDSA baseball cap and tennis visorWe just added a few new Awareness Items to our online store. PDSA baseball caps, tennis visors, tote bags and portable drink tumblers are now available in The Platelet Store.
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