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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 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, 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 and San Francisco General Hospital and at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center--report success in giving pentamidine 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.
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Title Annotation:pentamidine in aerosol form reduces toxicity
Author:Edwards, Diane D.
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 17, 1987
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