Claudia Morris, MD, Uncovers Potential New Mechanism of Action for Hydroxyurea


In her mitochondrial work, Dr. Claudia Morris made a novel discovery that wasn't discussed in her presentation at the ASH 2022 Annual Meeting.

Data presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition showed the benefits of using Arginine (Arg) to supplement treatment of vaso-occlusive episdes (VOEs) in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD).

While statistically insignificant, they observed a clinically relevant decrease in total parenteral opioid (TPO) and a shortened time to crisis resolution in both intervention groups treated with Arg compared with placebo.

In an interview with HCPLive, lead investigator and presenter Claudia Morris, MD, Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, shared a novel discovery found during the investigation that hadn't been addressed in her talk at the conference.

"In our mitochondrial work, we actually uncovered a potential new mechanism of action (MOA) for hydroxyurea," she explained, "because we saw that the patients who were on hydroxyurea had improved mitochondrial function and lower oxidative stress than the patients who are not on the hydroxyurea."

According to Morris, this observation was separate from the involvement of Arg therapy and an area for further research.

"That has never been shown before," she said. "So again, another path to study so that we understand the underlying mechanisms of the drugs that were that we're offering to our patients."

Morris is a Professor of Pediatrics & Emergency Medicine at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Research Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, while serving as Director of Clinical & Translational Research at Emory University, and practices Emergency Medicine in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

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