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Novartis' sickle cell drug reduces vaso-occlusive crises by 35% at Phase 2

Published on 10/10/18 at 10:18am

Novartis has presented new Phase 2 data for its humanised anti-P-selectin monoclonal antibody crizanlizumab in the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD). The findings were reported in the American Journal of Hematology.

The data, derived from a 52-week study of 137 patients showed that the drug reduced the number of patients experiencing vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) by 35.8% compared to the 16.9% reduction in the placebo group.

All patients had experienced between two and ten VOCs in the previous year, with 62.9% having experienced 2-4 events and 37.1% having experienced 5-10 events. VOCs are triggered by multi-cell adhesion and can be painful for patients, prompting them to seek hospital treatment and can lead to stroke or organ failure.

“The unpredictable, intense painful crises that patients with sickle cell disease experience are the hallmark of the disease and the primary cause of hospitalizations in this patient population," explained Dr  Abdullah Kutlar, Director, Sickle Cell Center at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, and primary author of the SUSTAIN analysis. "I am encouraged that results from this post hoc analysis of SUSTAIN study data found that crizanlizumab could substantially delay or prevent these crises, which also may mean less organ damage in the long run."

Dr Samit Hirawat, Head, Novartis Oncology Global Drug Development, added: “The insights gained from this analysis and others from the SUSTAIN study, strengthen our belief that crizanlizumab may become an important new therapeutic option for sickle cell patients who continue to need step changes in medical innovation. This is another example of what we mean when we say we are reimagining medicine.”

Matt Fellows

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