Treatment of thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease) by intramuscular gene transfer of vascular endothelial growth factor: Preliminary clinical results
Journal of Vascular Surgery
Purpose: Thromboangiitis obliterans (TAO), or Buerger's disease, a distinct form of vascular occlusive disease that afflicts the peripheral arteries of young smokers, is often characterized by an inexorable downhill course even in patients who discontinue smoking once a stage of critical limb ischemia associated with ulceration or gangrene is reached. As part of a phase I clinical trial to document the safety and efficacy of intramuscular gene transfer of naked plasmid DNA-encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (phVEGF165) in the treatment of critical limb ischemia, we treated TAO in 6 patients. Methods: Seven limbs in 6 patients (3 men, 3 women; mean age, 33 years; range, 33 to 51 years) who satisfied the criteria for TAO and had signs or symptoms of critical limb ischemia were treated twice, 4 weeks apart, with 2 or 4 mg of phVEGF165, which was administered by direct intramuscular injection at 4 arbitrarily selected sites in the ischemic limb. The gene expression was documented by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that was performed on peripheral blood samples. Results: The ulcers that were nonhealing for more than 1 month healed completely in 3 of 5 limbs after the intramuscular phVEGF165 gene therapy. Nocturnal rest pain was relieved in the remaining 2 patients, although both continue to have claudication. The evidence of the improved perfusion to the distal ischemic limb included an increase of more than 0.1 in the ankle brachial index in 3 limbs, an improved flow shown with magnetic resonance imaging in 7 of the 7 limbs, and newly visible collateral vessels shown with serial contrast angiography in 7 of the 7 limbs. The adverse consequences of the phVEGF165 gene transfer were limited to transient ankle or calf edema in 3 of the 7 limbs. Two patients with advanced distal forefoot gangrene ultimately required below-knee amputation despite the evidence of improved perfusion. A histologic section disclosed the classic pathologic findings of TAO. Conclusion: Therapeutic angiogenesis with phVEGF165 gene transfer, if instituted before the development of forefoot gangrene, may provide a novel therapy for patients with advanced Buerger's disease that is unresponsive to standard medical or surgical treatment methods.
Isner, J., Baumgartner, I., Rauh, G., Schainfeld, R., Blair, R., Manor, O., Razvi, S., Symes, J., Sidawy, A., Pappas, P., Veith, F., Kent, K., Jacob, T., Golden, M., & Dryjski, M. (1998). Treatment of thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger's disease) by intramuscular gene transfer of vascular endothelial growth factor: Preliminary clinical results. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 28 (6). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0741-5214(98)70022-9