Ropeginterferon alfa-2b for injection is under development for the treatment of polycythaemia vera (PV), a rare blood disease in which the body makes too many red blood cells. The extra red blood cells make the blood thicker than normal and as a result, blood clots can form more easily. These clots may block blood flow through arteries and veins, which can cause a heart attack or stroke. Thicker blood also does not flow as quickly and may prevent organs from getting enough oxygen. A mutation, or change, in a gene called JAK2 is the major cause of PV. This gene makes a protein that helps the body produce blood cells. PV develops slowly and may not cause symptoms for years. PV has no cure, but treatments can help control the disease and its complications.
Ropeginterferon alfa-2b belongs to the group ‘interferons’. Interferons are natural substances produced by the body to help it fight against attacks. The exact way alpha interferons work is not fully understood, but are thought to modify how the immune system works by targeting blood cells produced by the JAK2 gene. Ropeginterferon alfa-2b is expected to work in PV by blocking the production of blood cells in the bone marrow. If licensed, ropeginterferon alfa-2b may offer an additional treatment option for patients with PV who currently have few effective therapies available.
Romiplostim is a medicinal product that is being developed for the treatment of adult patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) who are refractory to other treatments. ITP is the condition of having a low platelet count due to unknown cause. It is also known as immune thrombocytopenic purpura. Many people with ITP do not have symptoms, however people with very low platelet count can have symptoms such as pin prick rash, easy bruising, nosebleeds, gum bleeds, black mouth blisters, fatigue, and heavy periods. Most of the currently available treatments have significant side effects with some treatments leaving patients are at increased risk of infections.