In the last two years, the U.S. Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill stated its concerns that not enough research is focused on lymphedema. The Appropriation Committee continued to say that although “Lymphedema (LE) is a chronic, debilitating, and incurable swelling that can be a result of damage to the lymphatic system due to surgery, cancer treatment, or injury, and that can also be inherited…additional research is necessary to improve our understanding of this condition and expand the treatment options available.” It is estimated that up to 10 million Americans have LE.
The Stanford University Acebilustat Lymphedema Trial is one of the first drug studies to target that disease. Celltaxis LLC is the sponsoring company developing the investigational drug Acebilustat. Acebilustat is a potent immune system modulating investigational drug, being developed for the treatment of conditions involving dysregulated immune response, such as Lymphedema. “If successful, one can’t overestimate the impact of this study on public health,” says LE&RN President & CEO, William Repicci. “For the first time, doctors would have a tool they could offer patients to combat this disease.”
Today, researchers at Stanford University enrolled the first subject in the HEAL (Human Upper Extremity Acebilustat Lymphedema) trial. Dr. Stanley G. Rockson, the Director of the Stanford Center for Lymphatic and Venous Disorders (and co-founder of LE&RN) is conducting the study under the auspices of the FDA. The study is intended to further investigate the ability of Acebilustat, a specific leukotriene B4 (LTB4) antagonist to reverse the structural damage created by chronic lymphedema. This open-label study of patients with arm lymphedema is envisioned as the next step in potential drug approval for the treatment of lymphedema. When asked, Dr. Rockson said, "This is a very exciting day for my team and for the lymphedema community. The current trial is the culmination of more than two decades of research in the laboratory and in human subjects. It speaks to the power of research: if this trial is successful, we may finally deliver an accessible treatment that can dramatically improve quality-of-life for the millions of individuals who currently live with lymphedema."