Printer Friendly

Getting the iron out. (Anemia).

While transfusions are lifesavers for many anemia patients, they introduce excess iron into recipients. This overload can damage the liver, pancreas, and heart. A new pill that reverses this process may vastly improve the lives of anemia patients, a new study shows.

The standard drug for removing iron from the body is deferoxamine mesylate. It chemically captures, or chelates, excess iron but must be given intravenously or by injection. The chief problem with deferoxamine mesylate therapy is that patients sometimes skip treatments, notes Stanley L. Schrier of Stanford University. A pill-based alternative would presumably be easier for patients to follow.

The new medication, now designated as ICL670, binds to excess iron, and these complexes ultimately leave the body in the feces. Researchers in Italy compared deferoxamine mesylate with ICL670 in 71 patients with an average age of 25. The participants had a hereditary form of anemia called thalassemia that required them to get transfusions every 3 weeks. They had been receiving deferoxamine mesylate via a needle drip placed under the skin for 8 hours a night, 5 nights a week.

Periodic testing of iron content in the patients' blood and liver over a year showed that ICL670 cleared transfusion-caused iron overload as well as deferoxamine mesylate did, says study coauthor Antonio Piga of Turin University.

If the work is confirmed, ICL670 "would represent a major clinical advance for patients with sickle-cell [anemia]" and others who need regular blood transfusions, says Ronald Hoffman of the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago.--N.S.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Science Service, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:getting rid of excess iron in the body
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 4, 2003
Previous Article:Protein vaccine slows leukemia. (Cancer).
Next Article:Carbon nanotubes beam electrons. (Materials Science).

Related Articles
Warm up with iron.
High iron stores may increase cancer risk.
A protein that helps the body pump iron.
Iron Loading and Disease Surveillance.
New Research on Iron and Vitamin C.
Beef up your iron intake for best performance.
Women and pumping iron.
How can you avoid having too much iron? (Scientific update: a review of recent scientific papers related to vegetarianism).
Double credit: iron-fortified salt cuts anemia.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters