A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase II Study of Hepatocyte Growth Factor in the Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia.Mol Ther 2019; 27(12):2158-2165MT
NL003 is a plasmid engineered to simultaneously express two isoforms of hepatocyte growth factor. This phase II study was performed to assess the clinical safety and efficacy of intramuscular injection of NL003 in critical limb ischemia (CLI) patients for 6 months. Two hundred patients (Rutherford scale 4-5) were randomly assigned: placebo (n = 50), low-dose NL003 (n = 50), middle-dose NL003 (n = 50), or high-dose NL003 (n = 50). The drug was administered in the affected limb of 197 patients on days 0, 14, and 28. No significant differences in the incidence of adverse events (AEs) or serious AEs were found among the groups. At 6 months, pain severity was significantly reduced in all NL003 groups, but not in the placebo group (p < 0.05). The proportion of patients with complete ulcer healing in the high-dose group was significantly higher than that of the placebo group (p = 0.0095). There were no statistically significant differences in transcutaneous oxygen pressure (TcPO2), ankle-brachial index (ABI), or toe-brachial index (TBI) value among the four groups throughout the study period. These results provide the first effective evidence of significant improvements in total healing of ulcers in treated legs, complete pain relief without analgesics, and safety for NL003 in patients with Rutherford stage 4-5.