Deferiprone for Ruptured Brain Aneurysm

  • End date
    Jul 1, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    David Hasan
Updated on 12 April 2022
alzheimer's disease
cognitive disorder
cognitive assessment


Ruptured cerebral aneurysms lead to subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH),that has a high morbidity and mortality rate, the severity of which is predicted by the "Hunt-Hess grade" (HHG).

SAH leads to iron (Fe) and hemoglobin (Hb) accumulation in the brain, which is toxic for neurons. Ferritin (iron reported in the brian) and iron overload leads to brain atrophy, specifically in the mesial temporal lobe (hippocampus, impairing patients' cognition. It is estimated that 50% of survivors have cognitive deficits.

Most of the survivors of SAH could not return to work. Iron chelation therapy has been recently gaining ground as a therapeutic intervention in intraparenchymal hemorrhage and in SAH. However, there has not been any study that assess the iron deposition in the brain and the level of ferritin in the cerebrospinal fluid of SAH patients. The investigators propose to conduct a randomized trial using Deferiprone (oral chelating agent, "De") + standard of care vs standard of care in patient with SAH to:

  1. assess the level of ferritin (Ft) in CSF (CSF withdrawn from ventriculostomy tube),
  2. assess functional outcomes measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score, a score used to assess the level of dementia, mainly in Alzheimer disease patients.
  3. quantify the the total iron deposition in the brain based on MRI



  1. Significance and Incidence and Burden of the disease Intracranial aneurysm is a prevalent disease estimated around 2-5% of the population. Aneurysm rupture leads to aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage , which have a tremendous impact on the patient's health, and a high mortality rate (~60%), with a large proportion of the survivors becoming functionally dependent. It accounts for 27% of all stroke-related years of life lost before age 65, and it has a predilection for a relatively younger age. Survivors have long term cognitive deficits and memory impairment in their productive years with major responsibilities with respect to work and family. Despite that, only one-third have neurological deficits. Most of the survivors could not return to work. Poor functional outcomes are related to iron and heme toxicity with resultant delayed cerebral ischemia , early brain injury , hydrocephalus and cerebral edema. As of today, there has not been any intervention that improves neurocognitive outcomes in these patients. The investigators postulate that iron chelation therapy can decrease the amount of Iron (Fe) deposition in the brain, reduce ferritin (Ft) in patients' cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and potentially improve functional outcome.

Our group was the first in the world to detect and quantify Fe concentration at the interface of brain aneurysms' wall and brain tissue using QSM-MRI sequence. This technique allowed us to detect microbleeds associated with sentinel headache in subjects with IAs and negative non-contrast head CT and negative lumbar puncture. In this proposal, the investigators will also use high-resolution MRI sequence to assess difference in volumes of amygdala and hippocampus and correlate that with CSF-ferritin.

This will make our proposal the first go/no-go randomized double-blind placebo vs. deferiprone trial that attempts to establish Ft (a reporter of total Fe in the brain and CSF) as a biomarker of neurocognitive decline specifically in subarachnoid hemorrhage subjects and test the effect of deferiprone in decreasing the levels of Ft and therefore ameliorate the neurocognitive decline associated with this disease. If our hypothesis is validated, then this would set the stage for a phase 3 clinical trial and test our hypothesis in larger cohort of subjects.

III) PRELIMINARY DATA (obtained with collaboration with our colleagues in Europe):

To provide proof-of-concept of the effect of deferiprone on the levels of Ft in the CSF of subjects with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), Tthe investigators conducted a pilot study to analyze the concentration Ft in the CSF of subjects with aSAH and Hunt and Hess grade 1-3. Fourteen subjects were included (7 with only cisternal SAH but no intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), and 7 subjects with cisternal aSAH and IVH). Their CSF (2-3 cc) were drawn daily (from day 0 to day14) and analyzed with Fe-ELISA kit. Then 4 subjects (2 with aSAH without IVH and 2 with SAH and IVH) were treated with 1000 mg of deferiprone twice orally for 14 days. The mean Ft level in subjects with aSAH without IVH was 900ng/ml vs. 420 ng/ml for those receiving deferiprone. The mean Ft level of patients with SAH and IVH was 1500ng/ml compared to 690 ng/ml in the deferiprone group. This small pilot study provided proof-of-concept that 1) aSAH increases the CSF-Ft in human, and this effect can be reduced significantly with deferiprone, and 2) aSAH associated with IVH increases furthermore CSF-Ft, which is also reduced significantly by deferiprone.

Condition SAH, Dementia
Treatment Placebo, Montreal Cognitive Assessment, Deferiprone pill
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03754725
SponsorDavid Hasan
Last Modified on12 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Age greater or equal to 18
Historical modified Rankin Scale Score (mRS) 0-1 (pre-subarachnoid hemorrhage onset)
World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies SAH Scale (WFNS) grade lesser or equal to
due to a spontaneous SAH attributed to a ruptured cerebral aneurysm
• Initial WFNS grade may be determined at admission or enrollment, preferably after
the patient's mental status has been optimized by resuscitation and interval treatment
of hydrocephalus (i.e., placement of intraventricular catheter [EVD]) or
reversal/wearing-off of sedating medications used commonly during patient transfers
and transport or procedure related anesthesia
Admission head CT showing modified Fisher grade 1-4 due to aSAH primarily in the
supratentorial space. The Modified Fisher CT rating scale is: Grade 1 (minimal or
diffuse thing SAH without intraventricular hemorrhage); Grade 2 (minimal or thin SAH
with intraventricular hemorrhage), Grade 3 (thick cisternal clot without
intraventricular hemorrhage), Grade 4 (thick cisternal clot with intraventricular
Location and pattern of the SAH must have the majority of the SAH in the
supratentorial space caused by either an intradural anterior circulation aneurysm or a
basilar apex/posterior circulation aneurysm with primarily supratentorial hemorrhage
extension. Angiographic location of the aneurysm will be confirmed by catheter digital
subtraction angiography usually obtained during the coil embolization procedure
Onset of symptoms of aSAH (ictus) occurred < 24 hours prior to presentation at the
treating facility
Initiation of aneurysm securement procedure occurred < 48 hours from the ictus and
less than 12 hours from admission to the treating facility
All aneurysm(s) suspected to be responsible for the hemorrhage or potentially
responsible for the hemorrhage must be secured in the following manner prior to
enrollment: endovascular Coil Embolization with a post-embolization Raymond-Roy Score
of 1 (Complete) or 2 (Residual Neck)
Ability to screen the patient and obtain head CT and CT perfusion on admission and
follow after recovering from anesthesia following the aneurysm coiling procedure, the
patient must remain a WFNS SAH grade less or equal to 3 without evidence of a
significant new focal neurological deficit including monoparesis / monoplegia
hemiparesis / hemiplegia, or receptive, expressive or global aphasia. New minor
cranial nerve defect without any other new findings is permissible. If a national
institute of health stroke scale (NIHSS) score was obtained prior to the aneurysm
coiling procedure, a post-coiling (pre-enrollment) NIHSS score must not have increased
by 4 points or more and Glasgow coma score must not be decreased by 2 points or less
The clinician should use their best clinical judgment as to whether a significant
Ability to obtain MRI for ischemic changes evaluation, measurement of iron deposition
and volume of and hippocampus
Subject's Legally Authorized Representative (LAR) has provided written informed
neurological decline has occurred due to the coiling procedure

Exclusion Criteria

A likely hemorrhage event within several days prior to admission related hemorrhage
ictus due to the increased risk of early vasospasm
Angio-negative SAH
Prior sentinel headache with negative CT or prior sentinel headache where the patient
did not seek medical attention does not exclude the patient
Surgical clipping of the ruptured aneurysm or any non-ruptured aneurysm on the same
admission prior to enrollment
SAH not caused by aneurysm rupture or aneurysm is identified to be traumatic, mycotic
blister or fusiform type by catheter DSA
Any intracranial stent placement or non-coil intra-aneurysmal device (i.e., stent-
assisted coiling with Neuroform, Enterprise, LVIS, LVIS Jr, Barrel Stent, Pulse Rider
WEB, LUNA, Medina or a similar device) where the stent device is implanted to treat
the ruptured aneurysm and / or antiplatelet therapy is needed
Subject has remaining aneurysm(s) that are untreated and could reasonably be
considered a possible alternate cause of the aSAH based on the observed bleeding
pattern. Adequate treatment of these aneurysms by coiling embolization would result in
Immunosuppression therapy including chronic corticosteroid usage
the aneurysms no longer causing an exclusion. MRI may be used in some situations to
Remote history of previous ruptured cerebral aneurysm
determine that the associated aneurysms did not rupture based on lack of blood seen
adjacent to the additional aneurysms
Diagnosis of sepsis or current documented active bacterial or viral infection prior to
Currently pregnant
enrollment. A minor uncomplicated community-acquired urinary tract infection would not
Contraindication for MRI
be an exclusion but should be treated promptly
No hydrocephalus requiring EVD
New parenchymal hemorrhage or new infarction larger the 15cc in volume, or significant
Known hypersensitivity to De or to any of the excipients in the formulation
increased mass effect as seen on the post coiling pre-enrollment head CT when compared
Past medical history of agranulocytosis
to baseline admission head CT. New hyperdensity on CT scan related to contrast
staining is not an exclusion
Active or chronic liver disease
Subject developed SAH-induced cardiac stunning prior to enrollment, with an ejection
fraction< 40%, or requiring intravenous medications for blood pressure maintenance
Concurrent significant intracranial pathology identified prior to enrollment
including but not limited to, Moyamoya disease, high suspicion or documented CNS
vasculitis, severe fibromuscular dysplasia, arteriovenous malformation, arteriovenous
fistula, significant cervical or intracranial atherosclerotic stenotic disease
(greater or equal to 70%), or malignant brain tumor
Known seizure or epilepsy disorder (diagnosed prior to this aSAH diagnosis) where
anti-epileptic medication was previously taken by the patient or have been recommended
to be taken by the patient. Childhood seizures that have resolved and no longer
require treatment are not part of this exclusion criteria
Serious co-morbidities that could confound study results including but not limited to
Multiple Sclerosis, dementia, severe major depression, cancer likely to cause death in
years, multi-system organ failure, or any other conditions that could cause any
degree of cognitive impairment
History of gastrointestinal hemorrhage or major systemic hemorrhage within 30 days
hemoglobin less than 8 g/dL, international normalized ratio greater or equal1.5
severe liver impairment, creatinine > 2.0 mg/dL, or estimated glomerular filtration
rate < 60 ml/min
Major surgery (including open femoral, aortic, or carotid surgery) within previous 30
Past medical history of any hematologic conditions requiring transfusion of red blood
cells or platelets
If endovascular treatment of their aneurysm requires adjunctive antiplatelet treatment
Subjects with SAH-induced cardiac stunning prior to enrollment, with an ejection
fraction< 30%
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