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Inhaled anti-rejection drug preserves lung function in lung transplant patients

SAN DIEGO--Lung transplant patients who received an inhaled version of the anti-rejection drug cyclosporine had significantly better lung function than those who inhaled a placebo drug in the two years after their transplant, according to a study to be presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference on May 22nd.

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 lung--it 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 Medical Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine 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.

Patients who received the placebo experienced a decline in lung function that was four times as great as those who inhaled the cyclosporine. There was no difference in the rate of acute rejection of the lung (rejection occurring in the first few weeks after surgery) between the two groups.

"Since the early 1990s we have been studying inhaled cyclosporine in lung transplant patients after they experience chronic rejection, but this i
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Contact: Jim Augustine or Bill Glitz
medsci@earthlink.net
619-525-6216
American Thoracic Society
22-May-2006


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