RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Multicenter phase I/II trial of the safety of allogeneic endothelial cell implants after the creation of arteriovenous access for hemodialysis use: the V-HEALTH study.

OBJECTIVES: Vascular access dysfunction is the major cause of morbidity in patients on hemodialysis to treat end stage renal disease. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that the perivascular placement of implants containing allogeneic aortic endothelial cells (Vascugel) reduces thrombosis, inflammation, stenosis and increases lumen diameter in porcine models of arteriovenous fistulae (AVF) and arteriovenous grafts (AVG). We conducted a phase I/II clinical study to investigate the safety of Vascugel placement around the surgical anastomotic sites of newly constructed dialysis accesses.

METHODS: From July 2006 to August 2006, eight patients (4 AVG, 4 AVF) were treated with two Vascugel sponges at the venous anastomosis in the open-label phase I trial. From January 2007 to August 2007 57 patients (30 AVG and 27 AVF) were randomized in a 2:1 fashion to receive either Vascugel or control matrices (placebo) at surgery. The phase II AVG patients had sponges placed at both the venous and arterial anastomoses. All patients were followed for 24 weeks. The primary objective of the study was to demonstrate the safety (incidence of infection, intervention, and thrombosis) of Vascugel compared with placebo within 30 days post-surgery. Secondary endpoints included assessments of patency, lumen diameter, and immunologic sensitization to human leukocyte antigens (HLA) determined by measurement of panel reactive antibodies (PRA).

RESULTS: There was no difference in early complication rates between the Vascugel and placebo groups at 4 weeks (10.9% vs 21.1%, respectively). There were no statistically significant differences in primary or assisted primary patency between the intent to treat groups at 24 weeks. Vascugel treated AVG had a primary patency rate of 38% and an assisted primary patency rate of 72% (vs 23% and 58%, respectively, for placebo). Vascugel treated AVF had a primary patency rate of 60% at 24 weeks and an assisted primary patency rate of 96% (vs 62% and 88%, respectively, for placebo). A greater than 30% increase in PRA was detected in 9 of the 46 (19.5%) Vascugel treated patients and one of the 19 (5.2%) placebo patients (P = .26) and was not associated with any evidence of local or systemic complications.

CONCLUSIONS: Targeted local therapy with perivascular, allogeneic endothelial cells is a safe and novel therapeutic approach that may be ideally suited to control the response to injury at surgical anastomoses. Larger randomized trials are needed to determine if Vascugel can prolong AVG or AVF patency.

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