The researchers tested ENO on seven Duke newborns with persistent pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure within the lungs. In this potentially life-threatening disorder, blood vessels within the lungs constrict, severely limiting the amount of blood flowing through the lungs, leaving the body starved of oxygen-rich blood.
"Our study showed that this new drug improved the oxygenation of seven babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension, without the adverse side effects of currently used drugs," said Jonathan Stamler, M.D., HHMI investigator and principal investigator of the team who published the results of their study in the July 13, 2002, issue of the journal Lancet. "It's an encouraging start."
"While larger trials will need to be conducted to confirm the results, we are very hopeful that this drug will not only help babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension, but can possibly play an important role in treating other diseases of improper oxygenation, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis," said Ronald Goldberg, M.D., chief of neonatal-perinatal medicine at Duke University Medical Center and a co-author of the paper.
Persistent pulmonary hypertension occurs when a newborn's body does not respond properly immediately after birth. While inside the womb, a fetus does not use its lungs to oxygenate its blood. Rather, a passage between the two pumping chambers of its heart
Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University Medical Center