Saturday, August 1, 2009

Opening Remarks to Demand DSCO Delivers

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  1. 1991 The Genesis & Promise of SURFAXIN KL4

    Scripps Team Develops Promising Lung Drug - Medicine: Artificial surfactant is hailed as breakthrough in keeping premature babies alive.

    October 25, 1991

    SAN DIEGO — Scientists at Scripps Research Institute have developed an artificial lung substance that in animal tests prevented respiratory distress syndrome, a major killer of premature babies, according to a study published today.

    Researchers have tried for years to develop a synthetic form of the substance, called surfactant. Each year, about 39,000 premature babies are born without surfactant and develop respiratory distress syndrome, an inability to keep the lungs' air sacs open. The disorder also affects about 150,000 adults a year.

    In healthy people, surfactant is secreted by lung cells, coating the inner lining of the lung and preventing it from collapsing when a person exhales. Several other artificial versions have been developed in attempts to prevent the syndrome, but with varying success.

    Scientists hope that the latest synthetic version developed at Scripps will prove the most effective yet, acting most like the real human substance it mimics.

    "This may come as close as you are going to get without actually being human surfactant--this may well be the best," said Dr. Louis Gluck, a professor of pediatrics and director of newborn medicine at UC Irvine.

    Pending federal approval, the new drug will be tested on premature babies early next year, said Dr. Charles Cochrane of Scripps' immunology department and an author of the study, published in the journal Science.

    The drug, which is administered to the lungs through a tube in the trachea, has been tested on 18 prematurely delivered rhesus monkeys and scores of rabbits, and is "just far more effective than anything we have," Cochrane said.

    The monkeys, who were born 80% mature, were gray and ashen, laboring to breathe until they were given the drug, the Scripps doctors said. Within six hours, they became pink and were breathing easily.

    Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) kills a quarter of the infants and about half the adults it strikes, according to the American Lung Assn. (1991) The adult victims' lungs become inflamed and stop producing surfactant.

    Just before birth, babies develop the ability to produce surfactant, which is composed of proteins and fatty substances called lipids. But those born prematurely frequently cannot produce the substance and are unable to expand their lungs. This means they receive too little oxygen and cannot empty the carbon dioxide from their lungs.

    Charles G. Cochrane, M.D.
    Founder and Professor of Immunology
    The Scripps Research Institute

    T. Allen Merritt, M.D.
    Professor of Pediatrics, Neonatology
    Loma Linda University Medical Center
    Loma Linda, California