Preimplantation factor (PIF) is an evolutionary conserved peptide secreted by viable embryos which promotes maternal tolerance without immune suppression. Synthetic PIF (sPIF) replicates native peptide activity. The aim of this study was to conduct the first-in-human trial of the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of sPIF in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, prospective phase I clinical trial. Patients were adults with documented AIH with compensated chronic liver disease. Diagnosis of AIH was confirmed by either a pretreatment International Criteria for the Diagnosis of AIH score of 15 or more, or a posttreatment score of 17 or more. Patients were divided into three dosing cohorts (0.1, 0.5, or 1.0 mg/kg) of 6 patients in each group. Three patients in each group had normal liver tests and 3 patients had abnormal liver tests. They were randomized to receive a single, subcutaneous dose of either sPIF or a matching placebo. Eighteen patients were enrolled, and all successfully completed the trial. There were no clinically significant adverse events and all doses were well tolerated. Ascending doses of sPIF produced a linear increase in the respective serum levels with a half-life of 90 minutes. There were no grade 2, 3 or 4 laboratory abnormalities. No patient developed detectable anti-sPIF antibodies. Conclusion: This first-in-human trial of the safety and pharmacokinetics of sPIF (a novel biologic immune modulatory agent) demonstrated both excellent safety and tolerability. The data support further studies of multiple ascending doses of sPIF in autoimmune hepatitis and potentially other autoimmune disorders.
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