Last updated on October 2008

Sirolimus and Cyclosporine for Treatment-Resistant Aplastic Anemia


Brief description of study

Aplastic anemia is a rare autoimmune disorder in which the bone marrow production of blood cells is greatly decreased or absent. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, tiny reddish-purple marks on the skin, abnormal bruising, and bleeding from the gums, nose, or intestine. While some cases of aplastic anemia are caused by medications, toxic exposures, or inherited genes, most often the cause remains unknown. The purpose of this study is to determine the safety and efficacy of combining two drugs, sirolimus and cyclosporine, for treating individuals with aplastic anemia that has not responded to other treatments.

Detailed Study Description

The most successful treatment for aplastic anemia is bone marrow transplantation. However, few patients are eligible for this procedure. For others, treatment usually consists of immunosuppressive agents, such as antithymocyte globulin (ATG) and cyclosporine. Unfortunately, even with immunosuppressive therapy, relapse is common. New combinations of medications may offer alternative and more effective treatment options. Sirolimus and cyclosporine are two drugs routinely used to suppress the immune system and prevent rejection in patients who have received organ transplants. While cyclosporine has been proven effective for treating aplastic anemia, sirolimus has not been tested for this disease. This study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of sirolimus in combination with cyclosporine for treating individuals with aplastic anemia that has not responded to other treatments. This study will last at least 6 months. Participants will first be screened to verify diagnosis of aplastic anemia. The screening will include a physical examination, blood test, bone marrow biopsy from the pelvic bone, and review of medications and medical history. Individuals who are eligible will then start the first treatment period. Participants will receive two medications: cyclosporine will be taken twice a day and sirolimus will be taken once a day. Depending on side effects, the doses of either drug may be temporarily stopped or lowered. On Day 1, blood will be drawn and females will undergo a pregnancy test. Subsequent study visits will occur weekly for the first month, every 2 weeks for 2 months, and then once a month for the remainder of the study. Each visit will include a physical examination, vital sign assessment, and review of side effects and medications. Blood tests will be performed weekly for the first 3 weeks, and then every 2 weeks. After 6 months of treatment, if a participant has shown improvements in disease status without major side effects, the treatment will continue. Over time the doses may be lowered. If a participant has not improved while on the study medication, treatment will stop at 6 months. Whenever treatment is discontinued, the participant will again undergo a physical examination, blood tests, and bone marrow biopsy.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT00319878

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Ronald Paquette, MD

UCLA Center for Health Sciences
Los Angeles, CA United States
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Hussain Saba, MD

Lee Moffitt Cancer Center
Tampa, FL United States
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Mikkael Sekeres, MD

Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Cleveland, OH United States
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Thomas Loughran, MD

Penn State University Cancer Center
Hershey, PA United States
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