SANGUINATE™ (PEGylated Carboxyhemoglobin Bovine) Improves Cerebral Blood Flow to Vulnerable Brain Regions at Risk of Delayed Cerebral Ischemia After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

Neurocrit Care. 2017 Dec;27(3):341-349. doi: 10.1007/s12028-017-0418-3.


Background: Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) has been linked to focal reductions in cerebral blood flow (CBF) and microvascular impairments in oxygen delivery. Effective therapies that restore flow and oxygen transport to vulnerable brain regions are currently lacking. SANGUINATE is a dual-action carbon monoxide-releasing and hemoglobin-based oxygen transfer agent with efficacy in animal models of focal brain ischemia and tolerability in patients with sickle cell disease.

Methods: We performed a safety and proof-of-principle study in 12 SAH patients at risk of DCI across three escalating doses (160, 240, and 320 mg/kg). We used 15O-PET (performed at baseline, after SANGUINATE and at 24 h) to evaluate efficacy for improving CBF and restoring flow-metabolism balance (assessed by oxygen extraction fraction [OEF]) to vulnerable regions (defined as baseline OEF ≥ 0.50).

Results: SANGUINATE resulted in a transient rise in mean arterial pressure (116 ± 15-127 ± 13 mm Hg, p = 0.001) that normalized by 24 h and allowed three patients with DCI to be weaned off vasopressors. No adverse events were noted during infusion. Global CBF did not rise (43 ± 8-46 ± 9 ml/100 g/min) although a trend was seen at the highest dose (45 ± 7-51 ± 9, p = 0.044). However, a significant 16% rise in regional CBF associated with reduction in OEF was seen in vulnerable regions, but did not persist at 24 h.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that this novel agent can improve regional CBF and may improve oxygen supply-demand balance. Clinical studies (likely with repeat dosing) are required to evaluate whether this effect can prevent DCI or cerebral infarction.

Keywords: Brain ischemia; Cerebral blood flow; Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Vasospasm.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arterial Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Substitutes / administration & dosage
  • Blood Substitutes / adverse effects
  • Blood Substitutes / pharmacology*
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / administration & dosage
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / adverse effects
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / pharmacology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Proof of Concept Study
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / drug therapy*
  • Vasospasm, Intracranial / drug therapy*


  • Blood Substitutes
  • Carboxyhemoglobin