FDA approves first therapy to treat patients with rare blood disorder

FDAToday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval to Reblozyl (luspatercept-aamt) for the treatment of anemia (lack of red blood cells) in adult patients with beta thalassemia who require regular red blood cell (RBC) transfusions.

"When patients receive multiple blood transfusions, there is a risk for iron overload, which can affect many organs," said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "Today's approval provides patients with a therapy that, for the first time, will help decrease the number of blood transfusions. This approval is an example of our continued progress for rare diseases and providing important new drugs to patients earlier."

Beta thalassemia, also called "Cooley's anemia," is an inherited blood disorder that reduces the production of hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. In people with beta thalassemia, low levels of hemoglobin lead to a lack of oxygen in many parts of the body and anemia, which can cause pale skin, weakness, fatigue and more serious complications. Supportive treatment for people with beta thalassemia often consists of lifelong regimens of chronic blood transfusions for survival and treatment for iron overload due to the transfusions. People with beta thalassemia are also at an increased risk of developing abnormal blood clots.

The approval of Reblozyl was based on the results of a clinical trial of 336 patients with beta thalassemia who required RBC transfusions, of which 112 received a placebo. Twenty-one percent of the patients who received Reblozyl achieved at least a 33% reduction in transfusions compared to 4.5% of the patients who received a placebo. The transfusion reduction meant that the patient needed fewer transfusions over 12 consecutive weeks while taking Reblozyl.

Common side effects for patients taking Reblozyl were headache, bone pain, arthralgia (joint pain), fatigue, cough, abdominal pain, diarrhea and dizziness. Patients may experience hypertension while using Reblozyl. Health care professionals are advised to monitor a patient's blood pressure during treatment and to initiate anti-hypertensive treatment if necessary. Patients who receive Reblozyl should be monitored for thrombosis (blood clots). The FDA advises health care professionals to tell females of reproductive age to use effective contraception during treatment with Reblozyl. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Reblozyl because it may cause harm to a developing fetus or newborn baby.

The FDA granted this application Fast Track designation. Reblozyl also received Orphan Drug designation, which provides incentives to assist and encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases. The FDA granted approval of Reblozyl to Celegene Corporation.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Most Popular Now

AstraZeneca takes next steps towards broad and equ…

AstraZeneca has taken the next steps in its commitment to broad and equitable global access to the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, following landmark agreements ...

Johnson & Johnson announces acceleration of it…

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) today announced that through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies (Janssen) it has accelerated the initiation of the Phase 1/2...

Low-cost dexamethasone reduces death by up to one …

In March 2020, the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for C...

Sanofi invests to make France its world class cent…

Sanofi detailed plans on how the Company will make significant investments in France to increase its vaccines research and production capacities, and contribute in respon...

Calquence showed promising clinical improvement in…

Results published in Science Immunology showed that Calquence (acalabrutinib), a Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, reduced markers of inflammation and improved cl...

Super-potent human antibodies protect against COVI…

A team led by Scripps Research has discovered antibodies in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients that provide powerful protection against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus ...

New consortium EUbOPEN will provide tools to unloc…

Almost twenty years after deciphering the human genome, our understanding of human disease is still far from complete. One of the most powerful and versatile tools to bet...

AstraZeneca to supply Europe with up to 400 millio…

AstraZeneca has reached an agreement with Europe's Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA), spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands, to supply up to 400 milli...

Up to 45 percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections may be a…

An extraordinary percentage of people infected by the virus behind the ongoing deadly COVID-19 pandemic never show symptoms of the disease, according to the results of a ...

Researchers identify potent antibody cocktail to t…

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) evaluated several human antibodies to determine the most potent combination to be mixed in a cocktail...

Gilead announces results from Phase 3 Trial of rem…

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) announced topline results from the Phase 3 SIMPLE trial in hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19 pneumonia. This open-label st...

Mayo finds convalescent plasma safe for diverse pa…

Mayo Clinic researchers and collaborators have found investigational convalescent plasma to be safe following transfusion in a diverse group of 20,000 patients. The findi...