Behind every new treatment for PH are dedicated professionals
A conversation with Sandeep Sahay, a specialist in pulmonary hypertension
If you haven’t heard about the advancements in potential treatments for those of us in the pulmonary hypertension (PH) community, hold on to your seats! I recently spoke with a dedicated, well-known PH specialist from the Houston Methodist Hospital, Dr. Sandeep Sahay, the co-director of the hospital’s Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Program.
During our email conversation, Sahay shared news about the exciting advances, including clinical trials, that he’s been working on to improve our quality of life. Excerpts from our chat follow.
JC: There’s been a mix of anxiety and excitement about the anticipated approval of sotatercept as a treatment for adults with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Have you explored this option with any of your patients? Also, would it require self-injections at home every 21 days or be administered at the doctor’s office?
SS: No one knows yet, but it may be administered with help from nurses from [the specialty pharmacy] Accredo or [the pharmacy chain] CVS, as they support intravenous medications. Yes, it will be a shot every 21 days. Most of the patients [are able to] self-inject in the trial [a Phase 3 clinical trial called STELLAR (NCT04576988)]. We have patients doing that with no issues. So, eventually, patients [after the trial] should be able to do it, too.
I’m curious about the progress of the long-awaited, implanted pump treatment [the LENUS Pro pump], which is already approved in Europe but not in the U.S. I believe this pump could benefit those who can’t tolerate subcutaneous treprostinil.
As far as I know, the implanted pump is not going anywhere. The [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] eventually declined [to approve] it.
How do you decide whom to approach when educating patients about new and developing treatments? Additionally, how do patients generally react when you suggest the possibility of transitioning to new treatments?
This topic is of immense importance. When I contacted 10 patients and caregivers, they revealed that their nonparticipation in clinical trials stemmed from a need for more awareness.
Generally, I give examples of patients who have participated in clinical trials for those drugs. For example, when I discuss sotatercept, I mention my trial experience. Most of the patients receive it positively and with hope. We all are hopeful about it.
I admire that you provide real-life examples of how other patients have experienced the positive effects of a new treatment. Despite the uniqueness of our bodies, the stories of others benefiting from them fill us with hope and inspiration.
Are there any other promising PH treatments you eagerly anticipate for your patients? Will there be any treatments soon that are expected to benefit a majority of the PH community?
Hopefully, inhaled seralutinib has met the endpoint [the targeted outcome] in [the Phase 2 TORREY study (NCT04456998)]. There are a few more drugs in Phase 2 clinical trials. Inhaled imatinib is one example, along with other inhaled therapies, such as inhaled soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator [MK-5475]. We are hopeful that these will become successful.
Given that you work at a renowned PH center with various clinical trials, why are you drawn to dedicating your days to such a rare group of patients?
This is tough to answer. … [I]t has been a very satisfying experience so far. I feel very passionate about taking care of PH patients. PH patients are unique in many ways. … Everyone has a different set of challenges and kinds of solutions to those problems. I learned so much from these patients.
This is one of the most exciting times for our patients, as multiple new therapies are on the horizon. Hopefully, we will get approval for the sotatercept soon, changing the whole management paradigm. I’m looking forward to an exciting future.
Thank you, Dr. Sahay, for taking the time to discuss these exciting developments. Those in your care are fortunate, as are all PH patients who will benefit from your clinical trials. Your genuine care and dedication to helping us be our best are commendable. It takes a village, and we are incredibly grateful to have passionate healthcare providers like you and your team, who are deeply committed to the well-being of the PH community.
What an incredible time for our PH community. If you weren’t excited before you read this piece, I hope you will celebrate with me now. Together, we can continue to PHight as we progress toward a cure!
Stay tuned to Pulmonary Hypertension News for the latest breaking news as these exciting developments keep coming.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.