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Useful drug for stem cell transplant problem

by Medindia Content Team on  September 14, 2002 at 4:51 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
Useful drug for stem cell transplant problem
A new drug rescues patients suffering potentially fatal liver complications from cancer therapy. Generally high doses of chemotherapy are given before a stem cell transplant such as a bone marrow transplant is used for cancer treatment. But chemotherapy causes five to 50 per cent of such patients to experience a potentially fatal complication called veno-occlusive disease (VOD), which damages circulation in the liver.
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In this trial, headed by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the US, a group of 80 patients with severe VOD received a new drug. Defibrotide is extracted from pig intestinal tissue. Around a third of the patients experienced complete reversal of VOD and 35 per cent of them survived for at least 100 days after their transplant.

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This is important for only 10 per cent of this desperately ill group would be able to survive this long with usual care. The standard treatment for VOD is clot-busting drugs, which have been linked with severe bleeding and are ineffective once the patient has multiple organ failure.

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