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Effects of cKit Inhibition by Imatinib in Patients With Severe Refractory Asthma (KIA)

Information source: Brigham and Women's Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Asthma

Intervention: Imatinib mesylate (Drug); Placebo (Drug)

Phase: Phase 2

Status: Active, not recruiting

Sponsored by: Brigham and Women's Hospital

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Elliot Israel, M.D, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Brigham and Womens Hospital
Joshua Boyce, M.D, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Brigham and Womens Hospital


The purpose of this study is to see whether a new investigational drug (Imatinib) may help improve asthma in people whose symptoms are not well controlled with high dose inhaled corticosteroid treatment.

Clinical Details

Official title: A 28 Week, Treatment Randomized, Double -Blind, Placebo-controlled Study of the Effects of cKit Inhibition by Imatinib in Patients With Severe Refractory Asthma (KIA)

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Methacholine responsiveness

Secondary outcome: Change in airway mast cell populations and phenotype.

Detailed description: Severe asthmatics remain poorly controlled despite high doses of standard asthma therapy or even daily doses of systemic corticosteroids or their equivalent. They account for a large proportion of the morbidity and mortality associated with asthma. Features that seem to characterize many patients with this disorder include persistent inflammation, symptoms, and airway hyperresponsiveness in the face of corticosteroid therapy. Mast cells are powerful, long-lived tissue dwelling effector cells that are resistant to corticosteroid effects and have been implicated in the pathobiology of asthma. Mast cells in the airway smooth muscle have been found to be the major distinguishing difference between asthmatic and non-asthmatic eosinophil airway disease; and putative circulating mast cell progenitors are increased 5 fold in asthma. Stem cell factor (SCF) is critical to mast cell homeostasis and upregulation and has pleiotropic effects on mast cells and eosinophils . SCF levels are elevated in relation to asthma severity and SCF antibodies block hyperresponsiveness and inflammation and remodeling in murine asthma models. Imatinib, a specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor, inhibits cKit (Kit), the receptor for SCF on mast cells. Imatinib at doses equivalent to, or below, doses safely used in humans, also mimics or exceeds anti-SCF effects in the murine asthma model. Therefore we would like to know Does imatinib, an inhibitor of Kit, ameliorate severe asthma, in association with effects on lung mast cell phenotype and/or function? Specific Aims of the study are: Specific Aim 1: To investigate whether, in patients with persistent airway responsiveness and poor asthma control despite intensive asthma therapy, 24 weeks of imatinib therapy results in a reduction in airway responsiveness and in secondary indicators of asthma control, airway inflammation, and structural changes in the airways. Patients will be treated with imatinib in a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Assessments will include methacholine and AMP reactivity, airway function, symptoms, airway wall thickness by CT scan, analysis of induced sputum, non-invasive markers of airway

inflammation, and bronchoscopy including endobronchial biopsy and bronchoalveolar lavage -

all before and at the end of therapy. Specific Aim 2: To investigate whether, in patients with persistent airway responsiveness and poor asthma control despite intensive asthma therapy, 24 weeks of imatinib therapy results in changes in airway mast cell population and/or phenotype.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 65 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria: 1. Patients 18-65 years of age, diagnosed with asthma for at least 1 year; 2. Refractory asthma, defined as reporting that their asthma has not been completely controlled in the past 3 months despite continuous treatment with high-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) and an additional controller medication, with or without continuous oral corticosteroids (OCS) Exclusion Criteria: 1. Current smoking or smoking history of greater than 10 pack-years 2. Any other significant respiratory or cardiac disease, or the presence of clinically important comorbidities, including uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled coronary artery disease 3. If subject cannot undergo bronchoscopy procedure due to safety reasons 4. Previous treatment with Imatinib 5. A history of acute heart failure or chronic left sided heart failure 6. Uncontrolled systemic arterial hypertension 7. History of major bleeding or intracranial hemorrhage 8. History of immunodeficiency diseases, including HIV 9. Use of other investigational drugs at the time of enrollment, or within 30 days or 5 half-lives of enrollment, whichever is longer 10. History of malignancy of any organ system (other than localized basal cell carcinoma of the skin), treated or untreated, within the past 5 years, regardless of whether there is evidence of local recurrence or metastases. 11. Diagnosis of Hepatitis B or C. 12. History of alcohol abuse within 6 months of screening. 13. History of illicit drug abuse within 6 months of screening. 14. Regular use of anticoagulants (eg: Warfarin Sodium, Coumadin), amiodarone, carbamazepine, Cyclosporine, Rifampicin, or reverse transcriptase inhibitors

Locations and Contacts

University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, United States

Brigham and Womens Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States

Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, United States

Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, United States

Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, United States

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, United States

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, United States

Additional Information

Related publications:

Al-Muhsen SZ, Shablovsky G, Olivenstein R, Mazer B, Hamid Q. The expression of stem cell factor and c-kit receptor in human asthmatic airways. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Jun;34(6):911-6.

Bischoff SC, Dahinden CA. c-kit ligand: a unique potentiator of mediator release by human lung mast cells. J Exp Med. 1992 Jan 1;175(1):237-44.

Brightling CE, Bradding P, Symon FA, Holgate ST, Wardlaw AJ, Pavord ID. Mast-cell infiltration of airway smooth muscle in asthma. N Engl J Med. 2002 May 30;346(22):1699-705.

Campbell E, Hogaboam C, Lincoln P, Lukacs NW. Stem cell factor-induced airway hyperreactivity in allergic and normal mice. Am J Pathol. 1999 Apr;154(4):1259-65.

Carroll NG, Mutavdzic S, James AL. Increased mast cells and neutrophils in submucosal mucous glands and mucus plugging in patients with asthma. Thorax. 2002 Aug;57(8):677-82.

Flood-Page P, Swenson C, Faiferman I, Matthews J, Williams M, Brannick L, Robinson D, Wenzel S, Busse W, Hansel TT, Barnes NC; International Mepolizumab Study Group. A study to evaluate safety and efficacy of mepolizumab in patients with moderate persistent asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007 Dec 1;176(11):1062-71. Epub 2007 Sep 13.

Proceedings of the ATS workshop on refractory asthma: current understanding, recommendations, and unanswered questions. American Thoracic Society. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2000 Dec;162(6):2341-51. Review.

Lukacs NW, Kunkel SL, Strieter RM, Evanoff HL, Kunkel RG, Key ML, Taub DD. The role of stem cell factor (c-kit ligand) and inflammatory cytokines in pulmonary mast cell activation. Blood. 1996 Mar 15;87(6):2262-8.

Nair P, Pizzichini MM, Kjarsgaard M, Inman MD, Efthimiadis A, Pizzichini E, Hargreave FE, O'Byrne PM. Mepolizumab for prednisone-dependent asthma with sputum eosinophilia. N Engl J Med. 2009 Mar 5;360(10):985-93. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0805435.

Reber L, Da Silva CA, Frossard N. Stem cell factor and its receptor c-Kit as targets for inflammatory diseases. Eur J Pharmacol. 2006 Mar 8;533(1-3):327-40. Epub 2006 Feb 17. Review.

Yuan Q, Austen KF, Friend DS, Heidtman M, Boyce JA. Human peripheral blood eosinophils express a functional c-kit receptor for stem cell factor that stimulates very late antigen 4 (VLA-4)-mediated cell adhesion to fibronectin and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1). J Exp Med. 1997 Jul 21;186(2):313-23.

Starting date: November 2010
Last updated: February 18, 2015

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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