ITP Autoimmune Disease Treatment Found
A U.S.-led international study has discovered a potential new treatment for chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disease.
Researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center said there are an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. diagnosed with ITP, a disease that reduces the number of blood platelets, causing bruises, nosebleeds and possibly life-threatening brain hemorrhages.
In the study, the scientists discovered an investigational oral platelet growth factor called eltrombopag increased platelet counts and decreased bleeding in patients with the condition.
They found eltrombopag elevated platelet counts to a safe level in more than 75 percent of chronic ITP patients within two weeks, compared with 11 percent of patients receiving placebo. As long as the therapy was administered, platelet counts continued to rise or remain increased, and bleeding symptoms decrease, the scientists said.
These findings represent an important step in the development of a new treatment option for those living with chronic ITP, said Dr. James Bussel, the study’s principal investigator. The fact that eltrombopag elevated platelet counts in this study within one week could be very useful to chronic ITP patients in need of short-term treatment.
The study appears in the New England Journal of Medicine.