Hereditary angioedema is a rare genetic disorder, manifested by recurrent edema leading to disfigurement, organ dysfunction and life-threatening respiratory impairment that may become fatal. The hallmark of HAE is C1 esterase inhibitor deficiency, but recent evidence points at bradykinin as the main mediator that causes hyperpermeability of small vasculature, leading to accumulation of edema fluid. Current therapeutic options for HAE are limited, and consist of drugs, replacement therapy, and supportive treatment. In view of many disadvantages of the current therapeutic modalities, new approaches to the treatment of HAE are now being offered. This review summarizes our experience with a new line of medications developed for the treatment of acute exacerbations and prophylaxis of HAE–icatibant: bradykinin receptor antagonist, ecallantide: kallikrein inhibitor, and two C1 INH preparations: Berinert-P, human plasma-derived concentrate, and Rhucin: novel recombinant C1-INH produced in transgenic rabbits. Preliminary results of these studies are encouraging and may bring new hope to the patients with this distressing condition. The exact number of HAE patients in Israel is unknown and because patients are treated individually and comprehensive laboratory assessment is partial, many cases might be missed or not treated according to accepted guidelines. We offer a new specialty center for HAE patients, addressing the medical and psychosocial needs of patients and their families. [References: 40].
Available online at: http://www.ima.org.il/IMAJ/ViewArticle.aspx?year=2008&month=12&page=850