Biotechnology

Beyond Biotech podcast 52: Antiphospholipid syndrome


June is Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) Awareness Month.

APS is a rare autoimmune disorder in which the body recognizes certain components of the blood and/or normal cell membranes as foreign and produces antibodies against them. There are two known forms. APS can occur in people with systemic lupus erythematosus, other autoimmune diseases, or in healthy individuals.

APS is also referred to as APLS or APLA in the US, and formerly Hughes Syndrome or Sticky Blood in the UK

On this week’s podcast, we talk to Tina Pohlman, who has APS, and president of APSFA, about the disease and its organization.

APS Foundation of America, Inc. (APSFA) was founded in 2005, and is the only US non-profit health agency dedicated to bringing national awareness to APS, a leading cause of recurrent miscarriage, thrombosis, juvenile stroke, and heart attack.

The APSFA Medical Advisory Team consists of nationally and internationally recognized experts on Antiphospholipid Syndrome.

We also spoke with APS researchers Dr Jason Knight, Marvin and Betty Danto Research Professor of Connective Tissue Research and Associate Professor, Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan.

What are the latest trials in antiphospholipid syndrome?

Currently there are several clinical trials conducted with respect to APS.

University Hospital, Clermont-Ferrand, France, is seeking to assess the effect of injectable anticoagulants (unfractionated heparin (UFH), low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), fondaparinux, danaparoid, and argatroban) in lupus anticoagulant tests against anti- Xa’s broad range of activity and to establish their potential to cause false-positive or false-negative results.

The David Ware branch, of the University of Utah, in the US, is also conducting a trial with results expected in 2024. The treatment trial evaluated adding the tumor necrosis factor alpha drug, certolizumab, compared to usual treatment. (heparin agents and low-dose aspirin) in pregnant women with APS and repeated positive lupus anticoagulant (LAC) tests to determine whether this regimen will improve pregnancy outcome. All enrolled patients will receive certolizumab, and pregnancy outcomes will be compared with women with APS and recurrent positive LAC tests enrolled in previous studies by the investigators.

Another study, in China, also with results expected in 2024, was carried out by Zhang Lei.

This study aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of zanubrutinib in the treatment of APS with secondary thrombocytopenia in 10 patients.

The University of Turin in Italy is sponsoring the BLAST (belimumab antiphospholipid syndrome trial), which is expected to see results in 2025. BLAST aims to evaluate the safety and tolerability of belimumab for up to 24 months in patients with persistent positive aPL and clinical features that can be attributed to aPL. resistant to warfarin and/or heparin.

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