Antibodies successful in the treatment of the hemolytic-uremic syndrome from EHEC

May 31, 2011

In the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine, physicians and scientists in Heidelberg, Montreal, and Paris reported on the successful treatment of three young children who were suffering from a severe hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) after an infection with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC). The infections occurred in 2010. EHEC are the bacteria that cause the current wave of infections that have already claimed ten lives in Germany. The number of suspected and confirmed cases of EHEC has now reached 700.

Eculizumab has been approved in Germany since 2007 and is used to treat a rare blood disease and a rare congenital form of HUS. Two years ago, American physicians reported similar success in children with this form of HUS (NEJM 2009; 360:544-546).

The children suffered from kidney failure and severe neurological disorders. "After several exchanges of blood plasma had no effect, we decided to attempt treatment with Eculizumab," reports Professor Dr. Franz Schaefer, head of the section of Pediatric Nephrology at the Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine at Heidelberg University Hospital.

Within 24 hours of the initial infusion, which was repeated once or twice at intervals of seven days, the clinical condition of the children improved dramatically. Dialysis due to acute kidney failure from HUS could be discontinued. All three children recovered and had no sequelae even six months after the illness.

The researchers decided on using the monoclonal antibody Eculizumab as it interrupts the destructive immune reactions that occur after an infection with EHEC. Eculizumab binds to protein C5, which activates what is called the complement cascade and lead to the destruction of blood cells among other things. With EHEC infections there can also be complement activation, triggered by the Shiga toxin formed by the bacteria.

"We now hope that these results will help the acutely ill patients," said Professor Schaefer. He assumes that even adult patients can profit from therapy with the antibody. "Because of the epidemic in Germany, the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine decided to accelerate the publishing date of the article, which they have had since February, and they published it immediately after reviewing it," said Schaefer. In addition, the article was sent to all kidney specialists in Germany.

Meanwhile, first treatments of adults and children in German hospitals have started. The German Society of Nephrologists has issued guidelines that the antibody may be given if all others standard treatments like dialysis and plasmapheresis have failed.
-end-
More information on the Internet:
Article in the New England Journal of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1100859

Contact person:
Prof. Dr. med. Franz Schaefer
Head of the Section of Pediatric Nephrology
at the Center for Child and Adolescent Medicine
at Heidelberg University Hospital
Email: Franz.Schaefer@med.uni-heidelberg.de
http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/Sektion-Paediatrische-Nephrologie.825.0.html

Heidelberg University Hospital and Medical Faculty:
Internationally recognized patient care, research, and teaching

Heidelberg University Hospital is one of the largest and most prestigious medical centers in Germany. The Medical Faculty of Heidelberg University belongs to the internationally most renowned biomedical research institutions in Europe. Both institutions have the common goal of developing new therapies and implementing them rapidly for patients. With about 10,000 employees, training and qualification is an important issue. Every year, around 550,000 patients are treated on an inpatient or outpatient basis in more than 50 clinics and departments with 2,000 beds. Currently, about 3,600 future physicians are studying in Heidelberg; the reform Heidelberg Curriculum Medicinale (HeiCuMed) is one of the top medical training programs in Germany.

Requests by journalists:
Dr. Annette Tuffs
Head of Public Relations and Press Department
University Hospital of Heidelberg and
Medical Faculty of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 672
D-69120 Heidelberg
Germany
phone: +49 6221 / 56 45 36
fax: +49 6221 / 56 45 44
e-mail: annette.tuffs(at)med.uni-heidelberg.de

Heidelberg University Hospital

Related Kidney Failure Articles from Brightsurf:

UC research finds low rates of contraceptive use in women with kidney failure
New research from the University of Cincinnati finds that women with kidney failure have low rates of contraceptive use.

Why do minorities have higher rates of kidney failure?
A new study indicates that Blacks and Hispanics have experienced higher rates of kidney failure compared with whites due to more rapid kidney function decline.

The economic burden of kidney transplant failure in the United States
A recent analysis published in the American Journal of Transplantation estimates that for the average US patient who has undergone kidney transplantation, failure of the transplanted organ (graft failure) will impose additional medical costs of $78,079 and a loss of 1.66 quality-adjusted life years.

Heart disease linked to a higher risk of kidney failure
In adults followed for a median of 17.5 years, cardiovascular diseases--including heart failure, atrial fibrillation, coronary heart disease, and stroke--were each linked with a higher risk of developing kidney failure.

Compound offers prospects for preventing acute kidney failure
Russian researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the Institute of Cell Biophysics, and elsewhere have shown an antioxidant compound known as peroxiredoxin to be effective in treating kidney injury in mice.

New study confirms protective effect of diabetes drugs against kidney failure
A new meta-analysis published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology has found that SGLT2 inhibitors can reduce the risk of dialysis, transplantation, or death due to kidney disease in people with type 2 diabetes.

Is kidney failure a man's disease?
A new analysis of the ERA-EDTA Registry [1] reveals a striking gender difference in the incidence and prevalence of end-stage renal disease.

Kidney failure on the rise in Australians under 50 with type 2 diabetes
A study of more than 1.3 million Australians with diabetes has found that kidney failure is increasing in people with type 2 diabetes aged under 50 years, leading to reduced quality of life and placing growing demand on the country's kidney dialysis and transplantation services.

Frailty may lower kidney failure patients' likelihood of receiving a transplant
Frailty is associated with decreased access at multiple stages in the pathway to kidney transplantation.

Obesity surgery prevents severe chronic kidney disease and kidney failure
Patients that underwent weight-loss surgery ran a significantly lower risk of developing severe chronic kidney disease and kidney failure, when compared to conventionally treated patients, according to a study published in International Journal of Obesity.

Read More: Kidney Failure News and Kidney Failure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.