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New drug is safer and more effective in preventing heart tranplant rejection


Although cyclosporine is widely used to prevent rejection in organ transplant recipients over the long term, two problems remain for heart transplant patients: acute rejection, which occurs within the first three months after transplantation, and cardiac allograft vasculopathy, a thickening of the heart wall that can restrict blood flow.

Findings from the second year of a multi-center study of the new anti-rejection drug everolimus were presented Thursday (April 22, 2004) at the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation. According to lead author Howard Eisen, M.D., professor of medicine at Temple University School of Medicine and medical director of cardiac transplant at Temple University Hospital, everolimus is not only more effective, but also safer than standard therapy in preventing heart transplant rejection.

"Our findings over a two-year period reinforce what we learned in the first year of this study, as well as add to our understanding of everolimus. When combined with cyclosporine and steroids, everolimus prevents transplant rejection and lowers risk of infection and other complications better than the current standard anti-rejection therapy," said Eisen.

The Temple team currently has several research projects focused on the prevention of transplant rejection underway.

Eryn Jelesiewicz | EurekAlert!
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