Thursday, March 24, 2011

Study shows anti-rejection drug may slow rare lung disease

SpirometryRapamune is a common anti-rejection medication often prescribed by doctors to prevent rejection in transplant recipients. However, a recent research study shows that the drug may also slow the progression of a rare and very serious lung disease called lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM for short. Researchers noted that Rapamune stabilized the lung function of the study's participants but that the benefits ended when they stopped taking the medication. So, it appears once started as a treatment of LAM, it cannot be discontinued.

LAM mainly strikes women. According to the article on titled Rejection Drug Slows Decline in Rare Lung Disease, LAM is a cystic lung disease that affects about 5 out of every one million people. During the course of the study, the researchers found that on average the patients taking the Rapamune made small gains in lung function while it decreased in the ones taking a pacebo. One doctor referred to the findings of the study as "a big step forward" for sufferers of the disease who previously had no hope. Since lung transplants are one of the hardest to come by, I'd say this is good news indeed.
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