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PROTOCOL FOR MONITORING PLATELET
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/591,371 filed Jun. 9, 2000 entitled Method and Apparatus for Monitoring Anti-Platelet Agents, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,613,573 issued on Sep. 2, 2003, which 10 is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/255,099, filed Feb. 22, 1999, entitled Method and Apparatus for Measuring Hemostasis, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,225, 126, the disclosures of which are hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference. 15
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a protocol for monitoring the efficacy of anti-platelet agents. 20
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
Blood is the circulating tissue of an organism that carries oxygen and nutritive materials to the tissues and removes 25 carbon dioxide and various metabolic products for excretion. Whole blood consists of a pale yellow or gray yellow fluid, plasma, in which are suspended red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
An accurate measurement of hemostasis, i.e., the ability 30 of a patient's blood to coagulate and dissolve, in a timely and effective fashion is crucial to certain surgical and medical procedures. Accelerated (rapid) and accurate detection of abnormal hemostasis is also of particular importance in respect of appropriate treatment to be given to patients 35 suffering from hemostasis disorders and to whom it may be necessary to administer anti-coagulants, antifibrinolytic agents, thrombolytic agents, anti-platelet agents, or blood components in a quantity which must clearly be determined after taking into account the abnormal components, cells or 40 "factors" of the patient's blood which may be contributing to the hemostasis disorder.
Hemostasis is a dynamic, extremely complex process involving many interacting factors, which include coagulation and fibrinolytic proteins, activators, inhibitors and eel- 45 hilar elements, such as platelet cytoskeleton, platelet cytoplasmic granules and platelet cell surfaces. As a result, during activation, no factor remains static or works in isolation. Thus, to be complete, it is necessary to measure continuously all phases of patient hemostasis as a net 50 product of whole blood components in a non-isolated, or static fashion. To give an example of the consequences of the measuring of an isolated part of hemostasis, assume that a patient developed fibrinolysis, which is caused by the activation of plasminogen into plasmin, an enzyme that breaks 55 down the clot. In this scenario, a byproduct of this process of fibrinogen degrading product (FDP), which behaves as an anticoagulant. If the patient is tested only for anticoagulation and is treated accordingly, this patient may remain at risk due to not being treated with antifibrinolytic agents. 60
The end result of the hemostasis process is a threedimensional network of polymerized fibrin(ogen) fibers which together with platelet glycoprotein Ilb/IIIa (GPIIb/ Ilia) receptor bonding forms the final clot (FIG. 1). Aunique property of this network structure is that it behaves as a rigid 65 elastic solid, capable of resisting deforming shear stress of the circulating blood. The strength of the final clot to resist
deforming shear stress is determined by the structure and density of the fibrin fiber network and by the forces exerted by the participating platelets.
Platelets have been shown to effect the mechanical strength of fibrin in at least two ways. First, by acting as node branching points, they significantly enhance fibrin structure rigidity. Secondly, by exerting a "tugging" force on fibers, by the contractability of platelet actomyosin, a muscle protein that is a part of a cytoskeleton-mediated contractibility apparatus. The force of this contractability further enhances the strength of the fibrin structure. The platelet receptor GPIIb/IIIa appears crucial in anchoring polymerizing fibers to the underlying cytoskeleton contractile apparatus in activated platelets, thereby mediating the transfer of mechanical force.
Thus, the clot that develops and adheres to the damaged vascular system as a result of activated hemostasis and resists the deforming shear stress of the circulating blood is, in essence a mechanical device, formed to provide a "temporary stopper," that resists the shear force of circulating blood during vascular recovery. The kinetics, strength, and stability of the clot, that is its physical property to resist the deforming shear force of the circulating blood, determine its capacity to do the work of hemostasis, which is to stop hemorrhage without permitting inappropriate thrombosis. This is exactly what the Thrombelastograph® (TEG®) system, described below, was designed to measure, which is the time it takes for initial fibrin formation, the time it takes for the clot to reach its maximum strength, the actual maximum strength, and the clot's stability.
Hemostasis analyzer instruments have been known since Professor Helmut Hartert developed such a device in Germany in the 1940's. One type of hemostasis analyzer is described in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,223,227, the disclosure of which is hereby expressly incorporated herein by reference. This instrument, the TEG® hemostasis analyzer, monitors the elastic properties of blood as it is induced to clot under a low shear environment resembling sluggish venous blood flow. The patterns of changes in shear elasticity of the developing clot enable the determination of the kinetics of clot formation, as well as the strength and stability of the formed clot; in short, the mechanical properties of the developing clot. As described above, the kinetics, strength and stability of the clot provides information about the ability of the clot to perform "mechanical work," i.e., resisting the deforming shear stress of the circulating blood; in essence, the clot is the elementary machine of hemostasis, and the TEG® analyzer measures the ability of the clot to perform mechanical work throughout its structural development. The TEG® system measures continuously all phases of patient hemostasis as a net product of whole blood components in a non-isolated, or static fashion from the time of test initiation until initial fibrin formation, through clot rate strengthening and ultimately clot strength through fibrin platelet bonding via platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptors and clot lysis.
Platelets play a critical role in mediating ischemic complications in prothrombotic (thrombophilic) patients. The use of GPIIb/IIIa inhibitor agents in thrombophilic patients or as an adjunct to percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA) is rapidly becoming the standard of care. Inhibition of the GPIIb/IIIa receptor is an extremely potent form of antiplatelet therapy that can result in reduction of risk of death and myocardial infarction, but can also result in a dramatic risk of hemorrhage. The reason for the potential of bleeding or non-attainment of adequate therapeutic level of platelet inhibition is the weight-adjusted platelet blocker
treatment algorithm that is used in spite of the fact that there is considerable person-to-person variability. This is an issue in part due to differences in platelet count and variability in the number of GPIIb/IIIa receptors per platelet and their ligand binding functions. 5
Since the clinical introduction of the murine/human chimeric antibody fragment c7E3 Fab (abciximab, ReoPro®), several synthetic forms of GPIIb/IIIa antagonists have also been approved such as Aggrastatg® (tirofiban) and Integrilin® (eptifibatide), resulting in widespread and increasing 10 use of GPIIb/IIIa inhibitor therapy in interventional cardiology procedures.
Before the introduction of the method and apparatus described in the afore-mentioned U.S. Pat. No. 6,613,573, there was no rapid, reliable, quantitative, point-of-care test 15 for monitoring therapeutic platelet blockade. Although the turbidimetric aggregation test has been used to measure the degree of platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade in small clinical studies and dose-finding studies, its routine clinical use for dosing GPIIb/IIIa receptor antagonists in individual 20 patients has not been feasible. Aggregation is time-consuming (more than one hour), expensive to run, requires specialized personnel for its performance, and is not readily available around the clock; therefore it cannot be employed at the point-of-care for routine patient monitoring and dose 25 individualization. To be clinically useful, an assay of platelet inhibition must provide rapid and reliable information regarding receptor blockade at the bedside thereby permitting dose modification to achieve the desired anti-platelet effect. 30
The turbidimetric aggregation test is based on the photometric principle, which monitors the change in the specimen's optical density. Initially, a minimal amount of light passes through the specimen, as functional platelets are activated by the turbidimetric test; platelet aggregation 35 occurs via platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor and fibrin(ogen) bonding as illustrated in FIG. 1, and thus light transmission increases. When platelets are inhibited through GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade, light transmission increases proportionally. 40
Another commercially available system measures fibrinogen-platelet bonding using beads coated with a fixed amount of an outside source of "normal" fibrinogen. Therefore, this system uses a non-patient source of "normal" fibrinogen and cannot detect a patient in a prothrombotic state (hyperco- 45 agulable) due to a higher patient level of fibrinogen, or detect a hemorrhagic state (hypocoagulability) due to a low patient level of fibrinogen. Additionally, this system shows only bonding without detection of the breakdown of that bonding. Therefore, in the presence of thrombolysis, the 50 assessment of platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade by the system may not be accurate.
Fibrinogen-platelet GPIIb/IIIa bonding is the initial phase of platelet aggregation, or a primary hemostasis platelet plug, which goes on to form the final fibrin-platelet bonding. 55 Thus it is not sufficient to measure only the initial stage of fibrinogen-platelet bonding, which may not accurately reflect final fibrin-platelet bonding via the GPIIb/IIIa receptor. While the turbidimetric and other photometric systems do detect initiation of platelet aggregation via fibrinogen- 60 platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor bonding, it may not accurately reflect final fibrin-platelet bonding via the GPIIb/IIIa receptor.
Significant among the limitations of systems that use beads coated with "normal" fibrinogen is that this "normal" 65 fibrinogen may not reflect either the quantity or the functionality of a specific patient's own fibrinogen. Therefore,
fibrinogen-platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade as measured by such systems is but a rough estimate of the patient's individual fibrinogen-platelet GPIIb/IIIa blockade of the initial phase of platelet aggregation.
This is a significant limitation in certain high risk patient subgroups, which may need treatment with a platelet inhibition agent, may have a higher or lower level of fibrinogen and thus would need an accurate assessment of platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade to reduce bleeding complications due to under assessment of platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade, or ischemic events due to over assessment of platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade. In addition, fibrinogen level and functionality may change during the trauma of interventional procedures. At this time it is imperative to make an accurate assessment of platelet GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade in real time, during and following the procedure.
Thus, there is a need for a method and apparatus for measuring the efficacy of anti-platelet agents, continuously and over the entire hemostasis process from initial clot formation through lysis.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is graphic illustration representing the mechanism of platelet aggregation.
FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of a hemostasis analyzer in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a plot illustrating a hemostasis profile generated by the hemostasis analyzer shown in FIG. 2.
FIGS. 4-10 are schematic illustrations depicting platelet activation responsive to various agonist agents.
FIG. 11 illustrates several hemostasis profiles relating to the platelet activation described in connection with FIGS. 4 10.
FIG. 12 is a schematic diagram of a hemostasis analyzer in accordance with an alternate embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
In accordance with the preferred embodiments of the invention, a hemostasis analyzer, such as the Thrombelastograph® (TEG®) hemostasis analyzer available from Haemoscope Corp., Skokie, 111., is utilized to measure continuously in real time, the hemostasis process from the initial fibrin formation, through platelet-fibrin GPIIb/IIIa bonding and lysis. While several specific anti-platelet agents are discussed herein in connection with the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be appreciated the invention has application in connection with virtually any anti-platelet agents. Moreover, it will be further appreciated that the invention has application for measuring the efficacy of coagulation enhancing or platelet activating agents.
In accordance with the preferred embodiments of the invention, utilization of the hemostasis analyzer in accordance with the inventive protocol permits: confirmation of the attainment of therapeutic level of GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade; individualized dosing assessment to evaluate attainment of adequate GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade; individualized dosing assessment required to reach adequate GPIIb/IIIa receptor blockade; illustration of the rate of diminishment of platelet inhibition or inhibition recovery after treatment with platelet-inhibition drugs; evaluation of the interaction effect of a combination of thrombolytic and platelet-inhibiting agents, on patient hemostasis.
The present invention may use a hemostasis analyzer 10, such as the Thrombelastograph® (TEG®) hemostasis analyzer referenced above, to measure the clot's physical properties. An exemplary hemostasis analyzer 10 is described in detail in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 6,225,126, and a 5 complete discussion is not repeated here. With reference to FIG. 2, to assist in the understanding of the invention, however, a brief description of the hemostasis analyzer 10 is provided. The hemostasis analyzer uses a special stationary cylindrical cup 12 that holds a blood sample 13. The cup 12 10 is coupled to a drive mechanism that causes the cup to oscillate through an angle 9, preferably about 4° 45'. Each rotation cycle lasts 10 seconds. A pin 14 is suspended in the blood sample 13 by a torsion wire 15, and the pin 14 is monitored for motion. The torque of the rotating cup 12 is 15 transmitted to the immersed pin 14 only after fibrin-platelet bonding has linked the cup 12 and pin 14 together. The strength of these fibrin-platelet bonds affects the magnitude of the pin motion, such that strong clots move the pin 14 directly in phase with the cup motion. Thus, the magnitude 20 of the output is directly related to the strength of the formed clot. As the clot retracts or lyses, these bonds are broken and the transfer of cup motion is diminished.
The rotational movement of the pin 14 is converted by a transducer 16 to an electrical signal, which can be monitored 25 by a computer (not shown in FIG. 2) including a processor and a control program.
The computer is operable on the electrical signal to create a hemostasis profile corresponding to the measured clotting process. Additionally, the computer may include a visual 30 display or be coupled to a printer to provide a visual representation of the hemostasis profile. Such a configuration of the computer is well within the skills of one having ordinary skill in the art.
As will also be described, based upon an assessment of 35 the hemostasis profile, the computer, through its control program, may be adapted to provide dosing recommendations. As shown in FIG. 3, the resulting hemostasis profile 20 is a measure of the time it takes for the first fibrin strand to be formed, the kinetics of clot formation, the strength of the 40 clot (measured in millimeters (mm) and converted to shear elasticity units of dyn/cm2) and dissolution of clot. Table I, below, provides definitions for several of these measured parameters.
lable conditions). In accordance with the invention then, the hemostasis analyzer 10 is useful in testing the clinical efficacy of drug therapy to stop fibrinolysis, or the efficacy of thrombolytic drugs to monitor thrombolysis, efficacy of anti-platelet agents to monitor platelet inhibition, ischemic or bleeding complications.
Quantitatively, the hemostasis analyzer 10 and associated computer plot the strength of the clot against time, where the onset of clot formation, the reaction time (R), is noted (FIG. 3). This plot also indicates the maximum clot strength (or rigidity), MA, of a blood sample. MA is an overall estimate of platelet-fibrin GPIIb/IIIa bonding, which is used, for example, to guide post-operative blood platelet or fibrinogen replacement therapy. Between platelets and fibrin alone, an abnormally low MA implies that there is an abnormality in blood platelets (i.e., a quantitative or functional defect) and/or an abnormality in fibrinogen content in the blood. However, by keeping fibrinogen level and platelet number constant, any change in MA would reflect changes in platelet function. Therefore, by testing the same blood sample two ways, one with an anti-platelet agent and one without, the difference between the two MAs reflects the effect of the anti-platelet agent on platelet function.
Platelets play a critical role in mediating ischemic complications resulting in stroke and myocardial infarction. Inhibition of platelet function by anti-platelet agents (platelet-blocker drugs) such as aspirin, the antibody fragment c7E3 Fab, abciximab (ReoPro®), or clopidogrel, (Plavix®), can result in a dramatic reduction in the risk of death, myocardial infarction, or reocclusion after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or intra-arterial thrombolytic therapy (IATT). Administration of excessive amounts of anti-platelet agents could lead to life-threatening bleeding. Therefore, a precise estimate of platelet function inhibition in a given patient is very important for the monitoring of the drug therapy because of the narrow risk/therapeutic ratio with this class of drugs.
Using the above strategy, which keeps fibrinogen level and platelet number constant, it is possible to properly administer and monitor anti-platelet agents or modify their dosages, or to measure the contribution of fibrin to MA (MAp^) and by subtraction to measure the pure contribution of platelets to MA (MAP) as MA^MA-MA^.
R R time is the period of time of latency from the time that the blood was placed in
the TEG ® analyzer until the initial fibrin formation, a a measures the rapidity of fibrin build-up and cross-linking (clot strengthening) MA MA, or Maximum Amplitude in mm, is a direct function of the maximum
dynamic properties of fibrin and platelet bonding via GPIIb/IIIa and represents
the ultimate strength of the fibrin clot. LY30 LY30 measures the rate of amplitude reduction 30 minutes after MA and
represents clot retraction, or lysis.
Clinically, these measurements provide a vehicle for monitoring anti-coagulation therapy (e.g. heparin or warfarin), thrombolytic therapy (e.g. tPA, streptokinase, urokinase), effect of antifibrinolytics (e.g. e-amino-caproic acid 60 (Amicar®), trasylol (aprotinin), tranexamic acid (TX)), effect of anti-platelet agents (e.g. abciximab (ReoPro®), eptifibatide (Integrilin®), tirofiban (Aggrastat®), blood component transfusion therapy, thrombotic risk assessment in cancer and infection, high risk surgery and other condi- 65 tions which could possibly lead to excessive clotting (hypercoagulable conditions) or excessive bleeding (hypocoagu
Therefore, in accordance with the preferred embodiments of the invention, to properly monitor anti-platelet agents, the following procedure is followed:
1. The hemostasis analyzer 10, as it is commonly used, measures platelet function (MA or MA^) that is stimulated by thrombin, a potent platelet activator that directly activates the GPIIb/IIIa receptor site. To sensitize MA or MAP to a small inhibition of platelet function, platelet function should be activated by a less potent platelet activator than thrombin, such as ADP that indirectly activates the GPIIb/IIIa receptor site.