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      Emerging disease-modifying therapies for sickle cell disease

      review-article
      1 , 2 , 2
      Haematologica
      Ferrata Storti Foundation

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          Abstract

          Sickle cell disease afflicts millions of people worldwide and approximately 100,000 Americans. Complications are myriad and arise as a result of complex pathological pathways ‘downstream’ to a point mutation in DNA, and include red blood cell membrane damage, inflammation, chronic hemolytic anemia with episodic vaso-occlusion, ischemia and pain, and ultimately risk of cumulative organ damage with reduced lifespan of affected individuals. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s 2014 evidence-based guideline for sickle cell disease management states that additional research is needed before investigational curative therapies will be widely available to most patients with sickle cell disease. To date, sickle cell disease has been cured by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in approximately 1,000 people, most of whom were children, and significantly ameliorated by gene therapy in a handful of subjects who have only limited follow-up thus far. During a timespan in which over 20 agents were approved for the treatment of cystic fibrosis by the Food and Drug Administration, similar approval was granted for only two drugs for sickle cell disease (hydroxyurea and L-glutamine) despite the higher prevalence of sickle cell disease. This trajectory appears to be changing, as the lack of multimodal agent therapy in sickle cell disease has spurred engagement among many in academia and industry who, in the last decade, have developed new drugs poised to prevent complications and alleviate suffering. Identified therapeutic strategies include fetal hemoglobin induction, inhibition of intracellular HbS polymerization, inhibition of oxidant stress and inflammation, and perturbation of the activation of the endothelium and other blood components (e.g. platelets, white blood cells, coagulation proteins) involved in the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease. In this article, we present a crash-course review of disease-modifying approaches (minus hematopoietic stem cell transplant and gene therapy) for patients with sickle cell disease currently, or recently, tested in clinical trials in the era following approval of hydroxyurea.

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          Most cited references79

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          Hydroxyurea for the treatment of sickle cell anemia.

          Manu Platt (2008)
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            Sickle cell anemia a molecular disease.

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              Improvements in haemolysis and indicators of erythrocyte survival do not correlate with acute vaso-occlusive crises in patients with sickle cell disease: a phase III randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of the Gardos channel blocker senicapoc (ICA-17043).

              Red blood cell (RBC) hydration is regulated in part by the Ca(2+) -activated K(+) efflux (Gardos) channel. Senicapoc selectively blocks potassium efflux through the Gardos channel, reducing RBC dehydration and haemolysis, and increasing haemoglobin levels in sickle cell disease (SCD). This randomized, placebo-controlled trial was designed to determine the safety and clinical efficacy of senicapoc in SCD patients. One hundred and forty-five patients were randomized to receive senicapoc and 144 patients to receive placebo for 52 weeks. Consistent with a previous study, patients in the senicapoc group had significantly increased haematocrit, haemoglobin, and decreased numbers of both dense erythrocytes and reticulocytes when compared to the placebo group. The unblinded Data Monitoring Committee terminated this study early due to a lack of efficacy when it determined that, despite improvements in anaemia and haemolysis, no significant improvement in the rate of sickle cell painful crises was observed in patients treated with senicapoc compared to those on placebo (0·38 vs. 0·31, respectively). Comparisons of the times to first, second and third crises between the senicapoc and placebo groups were not statistically significant. Nausea and urinary tract infections occurred more frequently in the senicapoc group than placebo. Serious adverse events were similar in the two groups. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Haematologica
                Haematologica
                haematol
                Haematologica
                Haematologica
                Ferrata Storti Foundation
                0390-6078
                1592-8721
                September 2019
                14 August 2019
                : 104
                : 9
                : 1710-1719
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine
                [2 ]Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: JANE LITTLE jane_little@ 123456med.unc.edu
                Article
                1041710
                10.3324/haematol.2018.207357
                6717563
                31413089
                1cc2bf8f-54ed-4d80-9f48-e6c469c808a0
                Copyright© 2019 Ferrata Storti Foundation

                Material published in Haematologica is covered by copyright. All rights are reserved to the Ferrata Storti Foundation. Use of published material is allowed under the following terms and conditions:

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode. Copies of published material are allowed for personal or internal use. Sharing published material for non-commercial purposes is subject to the following conditions:

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/legalcode, sect. 3. Reproducing and sharing published material for commercial purposes is not allowed without permission in writing from the publisher.

                History
                : 10 April 2019
                : 10 July 2019
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