This study aimed to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of intramuscular injections of plasmid DNA (VM202) expressing two isoforms of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in subjects with painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (PDPN). Twelve patients in three cohorts (4, 8, and 16 mg) received two sets of VM202 injections separated by two weeks. Safety and tolerability were evaluated and the visual analog scale (VAS), the short form McGill questionnaire (SF-MPQ), and the brief pain inventory for patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (BPI-DPN) measured pain level throughout 12 months after treatment. No serious adverse events (AEs) were observed. The mean VAS was reduced from baseline by 47.2% (P = 0.002) at 6 months and by 44.1% (P = 0.005) at 12 months after treatment. The VAS scores for the 4, 8, and 16 mg dose cohorts at 6 months follow-up decreased in a dose-responsive manner, by 21% (P = 0.971), 53% (P = 0.014), and 62% (P = 0.001), respectively. The results with the BPI-DPN and SF-MPQ showed patterns similar to the VAS scores. In conclusion, VM202 treatment appeared to be safe, well tolerated, and sufficient to provide long term symptomatic relief and improvement in the quality of life in patients with PDPN.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We acknowledge the dedicated collaboration with Emile R Mohler, MD (Director of Vascular Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System), Tracie C Collins, MD, MPH (Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota), and J Michael White, PhD (J.M. White Associates), who are members of the DSMB. This study was funded by the ViroMed Co., Ltd, Seoul, Korea and was supported by grants from the Korean Ministry of Health & Welfare (grant no. A091089). The authors declare no conflict of interest.