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1044 The Pyruvate Kinase Activator Mitapivat Improves Red Blood Cell Deformability and Sickling Kinetics in Adult Patients with Sickle Cell Disease

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 113. Hemoglobinopathies, Excluding Thalassemia: Basic and Translational: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Sickle Cell Disease, Translational Research, Hemoglobinopathies, Diseases
Saturday, December 10, 2022, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Maureen Lundt, MSc1*, Nancy Asomaning, MS1*, Ingrid Frey, RN, BSN, MS1*, Xunde Wang, PhD1*, Anna Conrey, NP1*, Julia Z Xu, MD, MS2, Quan Li, PhD3*, Emily B Dunkelberger, PhD3*, Neal Jeffries, PhD4*, William Eaton, MD5 and Swee Lay Thein, MBBS, DSc, FRCP, FRCPath, MRCP, MRCPath1

1Sickle Cell Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
2Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
3National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
4Office of Biostatistics Research, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
5National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, MD

Background: A hallmark of sickle cell disease (SCD) is compromised red blood cell (RBC) deformability. Polymerization of hemoglobin S (HbS) underlies this “sickling” which results in altered biomechanical properties that impact rheology and hemodynamics (Barabino et al, 2010). There have been exciting clinical developments in anti-sickling therapies - including enhancement of red cell pyruvate kinase (PKR) modality. Importantly, deformability measurements of RBCs via ektacytometry are increasingly used to aid the assessment of their therapeutic efficacy. Here we employed the Laser assisted Optical Rotational Red Cell Analyzer (LORRCA, RR Mechatronics), which permits the evaluation of RBC deformability as a function of shear stress, osmotic pressure, and oxygen tension, to evaluate the changes in RBC deformability in subjects undergoing treatment with mitapivat (AG-348), a PKR activator under clinical development for sickle cell disease. We analyzed changes in deformability measurements of RBCs in HbSS subjects after 4 weeks and 12 weeks of mitapivat therapy and compared them to t50 - a single parameter measure of sickling kinetics (Dunkelberger et al, 2018).

Methods: We studied subjects currently enrolled under IRB approved clinical trial NCT04610866 that evaluates the long-term safety and tolerability of mitapivat in SCD patients. Fifteen subjects (aged 25 – 57 years; 5 females, 10 males; African/African-American) were evaluated, though not all endpoints were available for every patient across all assays. Fresh whole blood (collected in EDTA tubes) was obtained at baseline (prior to drug initiation), after 4 weeks and after 12 weeks of therapy. Cells were counted and diluted in polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) solution before undergoing same-day LORRCA assays. The Elongation Index (EI) is a measure of the cells’ ability to undergo deformation at different physiologically relevant conditions. EI was assessed at increasing shear stresses of .3 Pascals (Pa), .95 Pa, 3 Pa, 9.49 Pa, and 30 Pa (elongation assay). Parameters derived under continuous osmotic changes (0-600mOsm/kg - osmoscan) include O min which informs on RBC fragility, O Hyper which informs on hydration state and corresponds to 50% of the maximum deformability in the hypertonic region, EI max (osmo) which reveals maximum deformability and informs on RBC cytoskeletal mechanics, and O Max which gives the osmolality at which EI Max is achieved. Point of Sickling (POS) gives the oxygen tension at which the cells start to sickle during nitrogen facilitated deoxygenation of the sample (oxyscan). These parameters of deformability are generated by LORRCA software. For all assays, we analyzed the % change from baseline after 4 weeks and 12 weeks of therapy (Wilcoxon signed rank test, R v1.4.1106) and compared these changes to those in t50 (Spearman correlation test, Prism v9) (Figure 1).

Results: Mitapivat therapy resulted in increased elongation indices across all shear stress levels, with significance reached at shears of .3 Pa, .95 Pa, and 3 Pa (respective mean % changes of 78.5, 181.8, and 23.0 (4 weeks) and 101.2, 212.9, and 30.1 (12 weeks)) suggesting improved deformability of RBCs. Likewise, significant increases in O hyper (mean % changes of 2.8 and 3.4) and osmo EI Max (mean % changes 7.9 and 9.5) respectively, indicate improvements in RBC hydration and cytoskeletal dynamics in response to changing osmotic pressures. Furthermore, a significant decrease in the average point of sickling was noted at both 4 weeks and 12 weeks (-20.15% and -16.8%, respectively), suggesting RBCs were susceptible to sickling at partial pressures of oxygen lower than those observed before therapy.

Conclusion: Altogether, these findings indicate that mitapivat therapy results in improved ability of RBCs to withstand deformational changes in response to shear stress, osmotic pressure, and decreasing oxygen tension, likely via bolstered membrane integrity. Interestingly, when compared to t50 values, significant correlation was observed at all levels of shear stress and at the maximal deformability (EI max) achieved during both the osmoscan and oxyscan assays.

Acknowledgement: This study is part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with AGIOS Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA, United States

Disclosures: Xu: GlaxoSmithKline: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees.

*signifies non-member of ASH