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scientific articles

Novel Use of Hydroxyurea in an African Region With Malaria: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

key information

source: Journal of Medical Internet Research, Research Protocols

year: 2016

authors: Juliana N. Anyanwu, Olatundun Williams, Casey L. Sautter, Phillip Kasirye, Heather Hume, Robert O. Opoka, Teresa Latham, Christopher Ndugwa, Russell E. Ware, Chandy C. John


Sickle cell anemia (SCA), one of most prevalent monogenic diseases worldwide, is caused by a glutamic acid to valine substitution on the beta globin protein of hemoglobin, which leads to hemolytic anemia. Hydroxyurea, the only disease-modifying therapy approved by the Food and Drug Administration for SCA, has proven to be a viable therapeutic option for SCA patients in resource-rich settings, given clinical improvements experienced while taking the medication and its once-daily oral dosing. Significant studies have demonstrated its safety and clinical efficacy among children and adults in developed countries. In Sub-Saharan Africa, however, the risk of malaria, hematologic toxicities, and safety of hydroxyurea in children with SCA living in malaria-endemic areas are unknown.

Study objectives include determining the incidence of malaria in SCA patients taking hydroxyurea versus placebo; establishing the frequency of hematologic toxicities and adverse events (AEs) in children with SCA treated with hydroxyurea versus placebo; and defining the relationships between hydroxyurea treatment and fetal hemoglobin, soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1, and nitric oxide levels, and between levels of these factors and risk of subsequent malaria.

Novel use Of Hydroxyurea in an African Region with Malaria (NOHARM, NCT01976416) is a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded phase III trial to compare risk of malaria with oral hydroxyurea versus placebo. Children will be recruited from the Mulago Hospital Sickle Cell Clinic in Kampala, Uganda.

Two hundred Ugandan children aged between 1.00 and 3.99 years with confirmed SCA will be randomized into treatment groups by order of entry in the study, based on a predetermined blinded randomization list. The primary outcome of the trial is malaria incidence in the 2 study groups, defined as episodes of clinical malaria occurring over the 1-year randomized study treatment period.

NOHARM will be the first prospective randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial investigating the use of hydroxyurea for children with SCA in a malaria-endemic region within Africa. The results of this trial have the potential to significantly advance understanding of how to safely and effectively use hydroxyurea in children with SCA in malaria-endemic areas.

organization: University of Minnesota, USA; Northwestern University, USA; Makerere University, Uganda; University of Montreal, Canada; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, USA; Indiana University School of Medicine, USA

DOI: 10.2196/resprot.5599

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