Human choriogonadotropin and epoetin alfa in acute ischemic stroke patients (REGENESIS-LED trial)
- Conflict of interest: Steve Cramer has served as a paid consultant to Stem Cell Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, Microtransponder, and Pfizer/Cogstate.
- Clinicaltrials.gov ID # NCT00938314
- Funding: This study was funded by Stem Cell Therapeutics.
Preclinical studies suggest that growth factors in the early days after stroke improve final outcome. A prior study found three doses of human choriogonadotropin alfa followed by three doses of erythropoietin to be safe after stroke in humans. A proof of concept trial (REGENESIS) was initiated but placed on regulatory hold during review of an erythropoietin neuroprotective trial. Due to financial constraints, the trial was largely moved to India, using lower erythropoietin doses, as the REGENESIS-LED trial.
Entry criteria included National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale 8–20, supratentorial ischemic stroke, and 24–48 h poststroke at start of therapy. Patients were randomized to three QOD doses of subcutaneous human choriogonadotropin alfa followed by three QD doses of intravenous erythropoietin (three escalating dose cohorts, 4000–20 000 IU/dose) vs. placebo. Primary outcomes were safety and neurological recovery.
The study was halted early by the sponsor after 96 enrollees. There was no significant difference across treatment groups in the proportion of patients experiencing death, serious adverse events, or any adverse event. There was no significant difference in National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score change from baseline to Day 90 between placebo and active treatment, whether active cohorts were analyzed together or separately, and no exploratory secondary measure of neurological recovery showed a significant difference between groups.
Administration of human choriogonadotropin alfa followed by erythropoietin is safe after a new ischemic stroke. At the doses studied, placebo and active groups did not differ significantly in neurological recovery. Study limitations, such as the use of multiple assessors, differences in rehabilitation care, and being underpowered to show efficacy, are discussed.