Method for Interdicting the Development of Severe Jaundice in Newborns by Inhibiting the Production of Bilirubin
Attallah Kappas, MD
Abbreviations:SnMP, Sn-mesoporphyrin • FDA, Food and Drug Administration • G6PD, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase
controversial problem in newborn medicine. Central issues in this problem are the unpredictable course of hyperbilirubinemia in some newborns, the undefined susceptibility of an individual infant to bilirubin toxicity, and the uncertain blood level at which bilirubin threatens the brain, an uncertainty that is intrinsic to the clinical circumstances and therapeutic context of severe newborn jaundice.
My laboratory group at Rockefeller University Hospital, together with collaborating pediatricians at other institutions, has developed a method for effectively controlling the production of bilirubin in newborns that can help to resolve these issues. The method involves use of an inhibitor that is targeted directly at the enzyme that controls heme degradation to bilirubin and permits physicians to rapidly, and predictably, interdict hyperbilirubinemia at any point in the progression of jaundice that they choose.