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Concept: Haemophilia A

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Hemophilia A is a common X chromosome-linked genetic bleeding disorder caused by abnormalities in the coagulation factor VIII gene (F8). Hemophilia A patients suffer from a bleeding diathesis, such as life-threatening bleeding in the brain and harmful bleeding in joints and muscles. Because it could potentially be cured by gene therapy, subhuman animal models have been sought. Current mouse hemophilia A models generated by gene targeting of the F8 have difficulties to extrapolate human disease due to differences in the coagulation and immune systems between mice and humans. Here, we generated a porcine model of hemophilia A by nuclear transfer cloning from F8-targeted fibroblasts. The hemophilia A pigs showed a severe bleeding tendency upon birth, similar to human severe hemophiliacs, but in contrast to hemophilia A mice which rarely bleed under standard breed conditions. Infusion of human factor VIII was effective in stopping bleeding and reducing the bleeding frequency of a hemophilia A piglet but was blocked by the inhibitor against human factor VIII. These data suggest that the hemophilia A pig is a severe hemophilia A animal model for studying not only hemophilia A gene therapy but also the next generation recombinant coagulation factors, such as recombinant factor VIII variants with a slower clearance rate.

Concepts: Blood, Hemostasis, Factor VIII, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Protein C, Thrombin, Factor X

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Background In patients with severe hemophilia A, standard treatment is regular prophylactic and episodic intravenous infusions of factor VIII. However, these treatments are burdensome, especially for children, and may lead to the formation of anti-factor VIII alloantibodies (factor VIII inhibitors). Emicizumab (ACE910), a humanized bispecific antibody mimicking the cofactor function of factor VIII, was developed to abate these problems. Methods We enrolled 18 Japanese patients with severe hemophilia A (with or without factor VIII inhibitors) in an open-label, nonrandomized, interindividual dose-escalation study of emicizumab. The patients received subcutaneous emicizumab weekly for 12 weeks at a dose of 0.3, 1.0, or 3.0 mg per kilogram of body weight (cohorts 1, 2, and 3, respectively). The end points were safety and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles. An additional, exploratory end point was the annualized bleeding rate, calculated as 365.25 times the number of bleeding episodes, divided by the number of days in the treatment period as compared with the 6 months before enrollment. Results Emicizumab was associated with neither serious adverse events nor clinically relevant coagulation abnormalities. Plasma concentrations of emicizumab increased in a dose-dependent manner. Activated partial-thromboplastin times remained short throughout the study. The median annualized bleeding rates in cohorts 1, 2, and 3 decreased from 32.5 to 4.4, 18.3 to 0.0, and 15.2 to 0.0, respectively. There was no bleeding in 8 of 11 patients with factor VIII inhibitors (73%) and in 5 of 7 patients without factor VIII inhibitors (71%). Episodic use of clotting factors to control bleeding was reduced. Antibodies to emicizumab did not develop. Conclusions Once-weekly subcutaneous administration of emicizumab markedly decreased the bleeding rate in patients who had hemophilia A with or without factor VIII inhibitors. (Funded by Chugai Pharmaceutical; JapicCTI number, 121934.).

Concepts: Blood, Coagulation, Hemostasis, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Protein C, Division, Factor X

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Background The prevention of bleeding with adequately sustained levels of clotting factor, after a single therapeutic intervention and without the need for further medical intervention, represents an important goal in the treatment of hemophilia. Methods We infused a single-stranded adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector consisting of a bioengineered capsid, liver-specific promoter and factor IX Padua (factor IX-R338L) transgene at a dose of 5×1011 vector genomes per kilogram of body weight in 10 men with hemophilia B who had factor IX coagulant activity of 2% or less of the normal value. Laboratory values, bleeding frequency, and consumption of factor IX concentrate were prospectively evaluated after vector infusion and were compared with baseline values. Results No serious adverse events occurred during or after vector infusion. Vector-derived factor IX coagulant activity was sustained in all the participants, with a mean (±SD) steady-state factor IX coagulant activity of 33.7±18.5% (range, 14 to 81). On cumulative follow-up of 492 weeks among all the participants (range of follow-up in individual participants, 28 to 78 weeks), the annualized bleeding rate was significantly reduced (mean rate, 11.1 events per year [range, 0 to 48] before vector administration vs. 0.4 events per year [range, 0 to 4] after administration; P=0.02), as was factor use (mean dose, 2908 IU per kilogram [range, 0 to 8090] before vector administration vs. 49.3 IU per kilogram [range, 0 to 376] after administration; P=0.004). A total of 8 of 10 participants did not use factor, and 9 of 10 did not have bleeds after vector administration. An asymptomatic increase in liver-enzyme levels developed in 2 participants and resolved with short-term prednisone treatment. One participant, who had substantial, advanced arthropathy at baseline, administered factor for bleeding but overall used 91% less factor than before vector infusion. Conclusions We found sustained therapeutic expression of factor IX coagulant activity after gene transfer in 10 participants with hemophilia who received the same vector dose. Transgene-derived factor IX coagulant activity enabled the termination of baseline prophylaxis and the near elimination of bleeding and factor use. (Funded by Spark Therapeutics and Pfizer; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02484092 .).

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Blood, Coagulation, Hemostasis, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Factor IX

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Antibodies (inhibitors) developed by hemophilia B patients against coagulation factor IX (FIX) are challenging to eliminate because of anaphylaxis or nephrotic syndrome after continued infusion. To address this urgent unmet medical need, FIX fused with a transmucosal carrier (CTB) was produced in a commercial lettuce (Simpson Elite) cultivar using species specific chloroplast vectors regulated by endogenous psbA sequences. CTB-FIX (∼1 mg/g) in lyophilized cells was stable with proper folding, disulfide bonds and pentamer assembly when stored ∼2 years at ambient temperature. Feeding lettuce cells to hemophilia B mice delivered CTB-FIX efficiently to the gut immune system, induced LAP(+) regulatory T cells and suppressed inhibitor/IgE formation and anaphylaxis against FIX. Lyophilized cells enabled 10-fold dose escalation studies and successful induction of oral tolerance was observed in all tested doses. Induction of tolerance in such a broad dose range should enable oral delivery to patients of different age groups and diverse genetic background. Using Fraunhofer cGMP hydroponic system, ∼870 kg fresh or 43.5 kg dry weight can be harvested per 1000 ft(2) per annum yielding 24,000-36,000 doses for 20-kg pediatric patients, enabling first commercial development of an oral drug, addressing prohibitively expensive purification, cold storage/transportation and short shelf life of current protein drugs.

Concepts: Blood, Coagulation, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Factor X, Factor XI, Factor VII, Factor IX

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Background Current hemophilia treatment involves frequent intravenous infusions of clotting factors, which is associated with variable hemostatic protection, a high treatment burden, and a risk of the development of inhibitory alloantibodies. Fitusiran, an investigational RNA interference (RNAi) therapy that targets antithrombin (encoded by SERPINC1), is in development to address these and other limitations. Methods In this phase 1 dose-escalation study, we enrolled 4 healthy volunteers and 25 participants with moderate or severe hemophilia A or B who did not have inhibitory alloantibodies. Healthy volunteers received a single subcutaneous injection of fitusiran (at a dose of 0.03 mg per kilogram of body weight) or placebo. The participants with hemophilia received three injections of fitusiran administered either once weekly (at a dose of 0.015, 0.045, or 0.075 mg per kilogram) or once monthly (at a dose of 0.225, 0.45, 0.9, or 1.8 mg per kilogram or a fixed dose of 80 mg). The study objectives were to assess the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics and safety of fitusiran. Results No thromboembolic events were observed during the study. The most common adverse events were mild injection-site reactions. Plasma levels of fitusiran increased in a dose-dependent manner and showed no accumulation with repeated administration. The monthly regimen induced a dose-dependent mean maximum antithrombin reduction of 70 to 89% from baseline. A reduction in the antithrombin level of more than 75% from baseline resulted in median peak thrombin values at the lower end of the range observed in healthy participants. Conclusions Once-monthly subcutaneous administration of fitusiran resulted in dose-dependent lowering of the antithrombin level and increased thrombin generation in participants with hemophilia A or B who did not have inhibitory alloantibodies. (Funded by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02035605 .).

Concepts: Pharmacology, RNA, Coagulation, RNA interference, Heparin, Haemophilia A, Thrombin, Antithrombin

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Nuwiq(®) (human-cl rhFVIII) is a 4(th) generation recombinant human FVIII, without chemical modification or protein fusion, produced in a human cell-line.

Concepts: Haemophilia, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Haemophilia C

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Hemophilia A and hemophilia B are caused by congenital deficiency of factor VIII and factor IX, respectively, and may lead to recurrent, spontaneous bleeding into the muscles and joints resulting in disabling arthropathy. Effective management is available in the form of prophylactic infusions of clotting factor concentrates which have been demonstrated to prevent bleeding episodes and greatly improve the quality of life of these patients. Prophylaxis is, however, expensive. Usual dosing regimens rely on weight based calculations but dosing with an understanding of an individual’s pharmacokinetic response has been demonstrated to be more effective in predicting clotting factor levels that protect against bleeding episodes. Standard pharmacokinetic studies require a prohibitive number of time sampling points but recent population or Bayesian pharmacokinetics can be used to provide an accurate estimation of an individual’s pharmacokinetic response using a limited number of sampling time points. The use of population pharmacokinetics has the potential to greatly increase the use of pharmacokinetic dosing regimens and optimize the use of clotting factor concentrates in patients with hemophilia. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2012; 60: S27-S29. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Blood, Coagulation, Pharmacokinetics, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Factor X, Coagulation system, Factor IX

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Haemophilia A is an X-linked bleeding disorder caused by reduced or absent clotting factor VIII (FVIII) activity, determined by heterogeneous mutations in the F8 gene. Identification of these pathogenic mutations is important for genetic counseling and the assessment of clinical manifestations. Although more than 700 mutations of the F8 gene have been reported as responsible for severe haemophilia (FVIII: C<1%), the corresponding data is currently insufficient for southern Brazilian populations, and world reviews concerning these changes are scarce. Thirty-six unrelated severe haemophilia A patients who showed negative results for introns 22 and 1 inversions were studied for gross exon deletions and mutations there and in adjacent regions. Missense mutations were examined using molecular structural methods. The presence of FVIII inhibitors was also investigated. The results were compared with the information available from respectively 2878 and 1952 patients from all over the world. Twenty-nine different genetic changes were found, 16 of them novel. Seventeen of the carriers developed FVIII inhibitors, and molecular analysis suggested that Asp542Gly and Ser109Pro may interfere with calcium binding, whereas Leu2297Arg clearly affects the molecule's electrostatic surface. The main aetiological factor in the severe form of haemophilia seems to be missense mutations. Of all genetic changes occurring in these patients, large deletions are the most important in inhibitors formation.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Blood, Coagulation, Point mutation, Missense mutation, Haemophilia A

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Desmopressin causes two- to six-fold increase of factor VIII (FVIII) in mild or moderate haemophilia A patients. However, responses are variable and little is known whether this is associated with F8 gene mutation. The study objective was to assess the relationship between F8 gene mutation and desmopressin response in haemophilia A patients. Desmopressin response (absolute and relative) was determined in 97 hemophilia A patients. Four amino acid changes (Arg2169His, Pro149Arg, Asn637Ser, and Arg612Cys) and a number of other mutations leading to an aberrant FVIII protein or FVIII deficiency were analysed. Patients with Arg2169His showed significantly lower FVIII levels before and after desmopressin compared to all other mutations (p<0.001). Pro149Arg amino acid change showed significantly lower FVIII levels 1 hour after desmopressin compared to all other mutations (p<0.005). An absolute response with FVIII ≥0.50 IU/ml after 1 hour was observed in 41% (9 of 22) of patients with Arg2169His; however, this was not sustainable after 6 hours in any of these subjects. No patients with Pro149Arg mutation (n=6) showed an absolute response with FVIII ≥0.50 I U/ml. Patients with other mutations showed significantly more complete and partial responses. Relative responses did not differ between mutations. Our study shows that haemophilia A patients with amino acid change Arg2169His or Pro149Arg have a decreased desmopressin response with regard to FVIII levels as compared to other mutations. Our results indicate that response to desmopressin is dependent on the F8 gene mutation type, despite the fact that multiple factors influence the desmopressin response, even within families.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Mutation, Evolution, DNA repair, Point mutation, Haemophilia, Haemophilia A

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Access to treatment and especially to long-term regular replacement treatment with clotting factor concentrates (prophylaxis) have caused dramatic contrasts in the clinical picture between haemophilia populations. An individual patient with severe haemophilia age 20 years can have normal joints or can be severely crippled and unable to work. Assessment of outcome in a standardized way has therefore become essential.

Concepts: Value added, Educational psychology, Psychometrics, Haemophilia A, Haemophilia B, Psychological testing