Hennigsdorf, August 2021 The medical technology company Pentracor GmbH, based in Hennigsdorf near Berlin, publishes an interview with CEO Dr. Ahmed Sheriff.
The innovative and cutting-edge therapy CRP apheresis convinces.
Avoiding serious tissue damage in myocardial infarction and preserving cardiac output. A clinical study on CRP apheresis after myocardial infarction showed significantly positive results. Other cases in clinical practice support these results. Similarly, 9 Covid-19 patients - one before and the others in intensive care - have recovered. The majority were already on artificial ventilation. Unfortunately, about 50 percent of these patients die under normal conditions when treated according to guidelines.
Pentracor GmbH, a medical technology company based in Hennigsdorf near Berlin in Brandenburg, has successfully developed this globally unique blood purification process and the PentraSorb® CRP adsorber in years of research work. The process is internationally patented. In addition to myocardial infarction, stroke and covid-19 cases, this apheresis also promises significant improvement in other inflammatory processes: for example, in the pancreas, chronic intestinal inflammation (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) and rheumatoid diseases, as well as in cardiogenic shock and sepsis.
Already awarded with prestigious prizes
The treatment method performed extracorporeal is characterized by a minimum of side effects. It is the only therapy in the world capable of immediately and selectively removing the inflammation-causing protein CRP from the blood plasma. Cardiologist Professor Dr. Jan Torzewski, head physician at the Heart and Vascular Center of the Allgäu Hospital Group at Kempten Hospital, also advocates this method. He won second place at the German Medical Award in November 2020 among 34 competitors, including renowned university hospitals and heart centers, for the use of CRP apheresis with the PentraSorb® CRP in myocardial infarction. Currently, about 16 hospitals in Germany use the blood purification procedure.
Questions to the CEO of Pentracor and the biochemist responsible for the development of CRP apheresis, Dr. Ahmed Sheriff: Pentracor has a CE-certified medical product that is reimbursed by all health insurance companies and has remarkable efficacy and healing results. On the other hand, you are currently working with only a small number of clinics out of a total of around 1900 hospitals in Germany. Where are there obstacles to overcome?
"I would like to limit myself to the three main reasons. First, not all hospitals in Germany are eligible for CRP apheresis. Cardiology and intensive care departments, for example, are prerequisites. This is often not the case. Secondly, Pentracor has only been offering the CRP apheresis procedure - apart from its use in clinical studies - on a broad basis on the market since the beginning of 2020. Until a few weeks ago, market development during this period was severely hampered by Corona. Among other things, visits to those responsible in clinics were not possible at all. Very helpful medical congresses did not take place. This leads us to the third point. Clinical physicians rightly expect clinical studies for new drugs and also for medical technology procedures such as CRP apheresis. They have to prove the efficacy and any risks. For this reason, we are conducting a registry study to sharpen the criteria for another randomized clinical trial. This study should then lead to parallel approval in the U.S.," says Dr. Sheriff.
Study shows significant positive results in myocardial infarction
What to do? "We have a study in myocardial infarction with significant positive results. However, the treated patients were not randomly assigned to the treated and untreated control groups, but pragmatically assigned based on personnel capacity for blood washing. For both myocardial infarction and Covid-19, we have established registries with the German Registry of Clinical Trials. It documents in detail the cases treated successfully and less successfully with CRP apheresis. For Covid-19, we are currently working on funding a study at a cost of 2 million euros," Dr. Sheriff explains.
New understanding of the CRP protein is needed in medicine
Is this registry sufficient to demonstrate therapeutic success? "In any case, they are a valuable support. However, clinical studies are of particular value for CRP apheresis. That's because Pentracor has to win over clinical physicians to a new view of the protein CRP in inflammatory events. This is not easy. That's because the new understanding goes beyond the classic textbook view," Dr. Sheriff explains.
What does this mean? "Until now, physicians have regarded the protein CRP as a prehistoric antibody. Its concentration in blood plasma is considered important information for the severity of an inflammation in the organism. In addition, it is recognized that CRP marks inflamed cells.
This marked tissue is subsequently eliminated by phagocytes (scavenger cells). The new understanding of the function of CRP, however, which has been directly or indirectly proven by various studies, including international studies, goes much further. This is also impressively demonstrated by our clinical experience, emphasizes Dr. Sheriff.
How should I understand this? "In the case of a particularly threatening infection by viruses or bacteria, the alarmed immune system releases excessive amounts of CRP. As a result, especially in internal inflammatory processes such as heart attack, stroke, or even covid-19, CRP is much more than a marker. It is a trigger, an amplifier of the inflammatory process. It not only marks irreversibly damaged cell tissue and ensures its elimination. Rather, CRP also marks survivable, oxygen-deprived cells and induces their degradation. Once again, this mode of operation goes beyond current medical textbook opinion. And it has dramatic consequences: In short - the elimination of cellular tissue! In case of a heart attack less cardiac output of the patient, in case of a stroke unnecessary loss of nerve cells in the brain with corresponding impairments or in case of Covid-19 the loss of lung tissue with a clear reduction of lung output plus later Long Covid. In case of intensive care treatment with artificial respiration also loss of life.
CRP apheresis has proven itself dozens of times
And in these cases, CRP apheresis is a promising therapeutic option? "Definitely yes! Our blood washing procedure can intervene decisively here and bring about improvement. The selective and immediate lowering of CRP levels with apheresis is an effective therapeutic measure if used in a timely manner in the acute phase and properly indicated. It has been proven to protect viable tissue. Its application has yielded positive results dozens of times. In at least four cases, no infarct area is even detectable after severe myocardial infarction."
But not yet frequently enough in clinical trials? "Well, medicine consistently follows the principle 'one time is no time`. And that is a good thing. Only, we are at least remarkably plausible in theory with studies as in clinical practice and far beyond 'once`. Our task is and remains to convince more clinical physicians of the new paradigm of CRP, of this new view and thus of the application of CRP apheresis. This will require further efforts," explains Dr. Sheriff.
And what actions do you plan to take? "First of all, we are very pleased with how 2021 has gone. We have already gained 7 new clinics as customers, including renowned university hospitals. We will present our results from studies and clinical treatments both in registries and at professional congresses. We have been successfully promoting publications in the medical press for months. And we are continuing to expand our sales organization - also with partners. So we are increasing the number of direct, personal contacts with those responsible in the clinics.
Will that be enough? "Well, we are not a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company with virtually infinite resources. But our recent progress reinforces my optimism," Dr. Sheriff emphasizes.
Company contact and press inquiries:
CEO Ahmed Sheriff
+49 3302 20 94 49-0