Erythropoietin as a Tissue Regenerating Cytokine for Acute Renal Failure and Other Kidney Diseases

Acute Renal Failure (ARF), in the context of multi-organ failure and in high risk patients, remains a common, and often fatal (~50% mortality), complication. Preventative measures are only poorly effective, and dialysis therapy is expensive and time consuming. ARF is characterized by cell injury and death by necrosis and apoptosis in the tubular epithelium. Consequently, recovery from ARF depends on the reestablishment of cells in the damaged area via processes that require surviving cells to both proliferate and migrate into the sites of injury.

While growth factors such as IGF-1, EGF, and HGF are somewhat helpful in both the prevention of and recovery from ARF, the clinical use of these growth factors is suspect due to the extreme costs and the possibility of serious side effects. Recently, it has come to light that the cells most severely affected by ARF are responsive to erythropoietin (EPO) and that EPO acts as a cytokine to mediate both protective and regenerative effects in those threatened cells. Data from animal models demonstrate that EPO treatment (preventative and post ARF) is highly beneficial in ameliorating the effects of and enhancing recovery from ARF. Since recombinant human EPO is in routine use for the treatment of anemia, and since only a few doses need be administered, such an intervention would be readily available and highly effective clinical tool for the prevention and treatment of ARF.

In 2004 the number of ARF patients receiving renal replacement therapy was 124,000 and contributed to revenues of $132.5 million. This figure is forecast to touch $226.2 million by 2011.

Stage of Development
United States patent 6,784,154 has been awarded on this technology. A provisional application has also been filed on the use of EPO in multi-organ failure. The technology is available for licensing or developmental support under either exclusive or non-exclusive terms.

Inventor(s): Christof Westenfelder

Type of Offer: Licensing

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