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Drug combo: double whammy with a bonus.

Drug combo: Double whammy with a bonus

AIDS patients with Kaposi's sarcoma -- a normally rare cancer that strikes many people with AIDS--can benefit from a double-whammy treatment consisting of zidovudine and alpha interferon, a naturlly occurring protein. The double-drug regimen inhibits the spread of HIV and shrinks tumors in some patients at doses low enough to avoid the debilitating side effect stemming from standard does of either drug alone, according to a report in the Aug. 15 ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE.

H. Clifford Lane at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DIseases in Bethesda, Md., and his colleagues studied 22 homosexual or bisexual men with both AIDS and Kaposi's sarcoma. After 12 weeks on the dual regimen, 10 of these patients showed a 50 percent reduction in half their tumors and one showed no evidence of tumors, Lane reports.

In addition, the one-two punch of zidovudine and interferon appeared to stop the spread of HIV. When the researchers tried to culture HIV from the 22 patients' blood samples after 12 weeks of treatment, they found that eight study participants had negative cultures. At the outset of the study, all eight had positive HIV cultures, Lane says.

The findings are significant because many AIDS patients on high doses of zidovudine -- and many AIDS or cancer patients on high doses of infection -- develop severe side effects. The drug combination allows doctors to lower the dose of zidovudine while at the same time retarding HIV's spread and attacking the cancerous tumors, the scientists say.
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Title Annotation:zidovudine and alpha interferon for AIDS-Kaposi's sarcoma patients
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 26, 1989
Words:252
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