Breathing life into an AIDS drug.Breathing life into an AIDS drug
While death from AIDS is not directly caused by the viral agent of this devastating dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. disease, it is frequently due to so-called opportunistic infections--those that take advantage of the severely depleted immune systems in AIDS patients. With more than 60 percent of AIDS patients developing serious pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis carinii pneumocystis carinii: see pneumonia. , many scientists studying potential treatments for AIDS-related disorders are focusing on this lung infection. Many believe the most promising drug is pentamidine isethionate given intravenously, yet its relatively high toxicity and failure rates have been discouraging.
Now two groups of scientists--at the University of California The University of California has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students, over 1,340,000 living alumni, and a combined systemwide and campus endowment of just over $7.3 billion (8th largest in the United States). and San Francisco General Hospital San Francisco General Hospital is the main public hospital in San Francisco, California, and the only Level I Trauma Center serving San Francisco and San Mateo. The hospital budget is for only 302 beds at SFGH. and at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center--report success in giving pentamidine pentamidine /pen·tam·i·dine/ (pen-tam´i-den) an antiinfective used as the isethionate salt in the treatment of pneumonia, leishmaniasis, and early African trypanosomiasis. to AIDS patients in aerosol form. Results from the preliminary clinical trials show that inhaling the drug reduces toxicity in patients and more effectively fights the infection, apparently by concentrating the drug in the lungs themselves, say the researchers.