Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Doctors testing new anti-rejection drug

A new anti-rejection drug is being tested at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. According to a report on, Health Watch : New Transplant Drug, the medication, known as Beletacept, is administered via IV infusion once a month instead of the patient having to take numerous pills daily. In addition, Beletacept does not appear to have the same adverse side effects that oral Cyclosporin does which can include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney toxicity. The only downside is that Beletacept has an overall rejection rate that is higher than traditional Cyclosporin. However, Emory Transplant Center Director Dr. Christian Larsen has several patients who have been involved in the Beletacept trial for seven years and all of them have normal kidney function. Dr. Larsen and others believe that even though Beletacept is not perfect, it is opening up some wonderful possibilities for the future of transplant medicine.

We transplant patients know what a huge breakthrough an anti-rejection drug with fewer side effects would be. It would enable us to eliminate the additional meds we have to take to deal with the side effects of Cyclosporin. For instance, many of us have to take medications to combat the elevated cholesterol and blood pressure caused by the Cyclosporin. If we could eliminate those medications, it would not only make our lives easier but also lower our health care costs enabling us to keep more of our cash in our pockets. I think everyone could use more of that.
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