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World first medical treatment announced by researchers

Researchers at Queen Mary University London and the University of Leicester and have today (Friday June 1) announced a potential breakthrough in the treatment of a rare but devastating medical condition that can affect children and young people.

In a world first, the clinicians and scientists from the two universities have already treated one patient with promising results. Their preliminary data are published as a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This is the first time research into a condition known as idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis has investigated the role of oxidative stress and it is also the first time treatment has been carried out based on the research.

Queen Mary University London and the University of Leicester have combined world-class expertise in Child Health, Pulmonary Disease and Oxidative Stress research, plus access to patients with this rare disease. This combination of factors is unique to this collaboration.

Jonathan Grigg, Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine at Queen Mary University London, said: Idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis is a rare disease, the cause of which is unknown.

Affected patients have episodes of bleeding in the lungs, which often need hospital admissions, and in some cases it can be life threatening. This is normally combated by the use of continuous oral steroids (which can have major side effects).

In a child local to Leicester, we were able to show, for the first time, that there was high levels of oxidative stress in the lungs. In addition, we treated the increased oxidative stress by using of an antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine - which has no side effects. Since she has been on this treatment she has had no lung bleeds, and the steroid dose has been significantly reduced.

Dr Marcus Cooke, Senior lecturer in the Radiation and Oxidative Stress Section at the University of Leicester, added: It is a really
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Contact: Dr. Marcus Cooke
44-011-625-2825
University of Leicester
1-Jun-2007


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