News in brief: Imported Ig available now; Test for COVID vaccine-related thrombosis; Haematologist develops novel treatment for CNS lymphoma

Thursday, 25 Mar 2021

Expanded choice of immunoglobulins

Imported immunoglobulin products Octagam (10% concentration IVIg) and Cuvitru (20% concentration SCIg) have come onto the Australian market this month.

Contracts are also in place for two other imported products Kiovig (IVIg) and Hyqvia (SCIg) to follow.

The National Blood Authority said current products – Gamunex, Flebogamma, Privigen and Hizentra – will remain available and patients already receiving these products are not expected to be required to switch.

The Authority said increasing the number of products and suppliers will improve the security and sustainability of supply arrangements for Australia as well as achieve better average product prices.

Advances in COVID-19 vaccine related thrombosis

German researchers have developed a new specific confirmatory assay to detect anti-platelet antibodies associated with AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination-related thrombotic complications.

Research led by Professor Andreas Greinacher, from the University Medicine Greifswald, identified the mechanism underlying the vaccine-related complications and a test which clearly differentiates between the new syndrome and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT).

However it’s the similarities between the two conditions that has helped identify a treatment.

They found platelet activation by the AstraZeneca/Oxford AZD1222 vaccine associated with antibodies was inhibited by intravenous immunoglobulin.

“As the research group’s work has demonstrated in the past, (IVIG) is highly effective in treating catastrophic HIT; and as the clinical and laboratory characteristics of HIT closely resemble those of vaccine-associated complications, it is very likely that IVIG will also be an important therapeutic option (in addition to anticoagulant treatment) for patients,” the University said.

Vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has resumed in Germany.

Haematologist develops novel treatment for primary CNS lymphoma 

Queensland-led research has resulted in promising treatment for EBV-associated primary CNS lymphoma occurring after immunosuppression.

Haematologist Professor Maher Gandhi, from the Mater Research Institute and University of Queensland, has successfully treated one patient who developed brain lymphoma following glandular fever after an organ transplant. The patient was on dialysis during treatment. 

Treatment in the clinical trial included a small molecule inhibitor followed by a vaccine against the virus.  

“Fortunately, it worked brilliantly in the patient and he has been completely cured and the transformation is remarkable,” Professor Gandhi said in a statement.

The researchers said in Blood that primary CNS lymphoma in the context of immunosuppression was poorly characterised and had a dismal outcome. 

The research is the first large-scale comparative data on the genetic and gene expression landscape of PCNSL subtypes. 


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