Patients who undergo lung transplants suffer from rejection of the organ. Hence according to a study researchers have found that inhaled anti-rejection drug, cyclosporine significantly reduces rejection and results in better lung function. The study results were presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference. The findings come from the same study that previously found that inhaled cyclosporine improved survival and extended periods of chronic rejection-free survival in lung transplant patients. Those results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine in January 2006. 'Many lung transplant patients develop chronic rejection of the new lungit is the Achilles heel of the transplant process,' said lead researcher Aldo Iacono, M.D., Medical Director of Lung Transplantation at the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
'Typically, patients experience a progressive, inexorable decline in lung function, most likely because of this chronic rejection and infections. This finding that aerosolized cyclosporine preserves lung function bolsters our previous findings that the drug reduces chronic rejection of the lung.' The new study looked at 58 lung transplant patients, who were randomly assigned to inhale either 300 mg of aerosol cyclosporine or aerosol placebo three days a week for the first two years after their transplant. Both groups received oral anti-rejection medicines.
Almost half of recipients die within three years, and the long-term survival rate has not changed much in the last 20 years. Dr. Iacono said that the data on the drug's impact on survival and chronic rejection were presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June 2005, and that the FDA requested further studies. 'I am hoping that the lung transplant community can work together to organize a multi-center trial," he said. "If we find promising results from a new, bigger, trial, and the drug becomes readily available, it could make a big difference for lung transplant patients.'