Doctors report that a new drug designed to help make blood clot in people with hemophilia is safe and effective. The drug is supposed to be an exact copy of the natural clotting substance known as factor VIII. It was developed through genetic engineering techniques by Cutter Biological in Berkeley.
In tests on 107 people with hemophilia, the researchers concluded that the genetically engineered version of factor VIII "is safe and clinically effective for the prevention and treatment" of bleeding caused by hemophilia.
Human tests of the genetically engineered factor VIII began in June, 1988, according to the researchers involved in the new study.
The findings, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, mean that hemophiliacs may someday be able to use the new drug to stop their bleeding without the risk of developing AIDS or other potentially deadly diseases associated with conventional treatment.
The group, led by Dr. Richard S. Schwartz of Cutter, found that the engineered form of factor VIII stayed in the body just as long, if not longer, than the factor VIII extracted from donated blood.