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MEDICINE : Organ Transplant Drug Hailed

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

An experimental drug given to transplant patients not only helps prevent organ rejection but also often reverses advanced stages that eventually would destroy replacement tissue, researchers said today.

Studies on FK-506 also show the drug lowers the occurrence of infection, virtually eliminates hypertension and reduces instances of kidney failure more effectively than traditional immunosuppressive therapies such as cyclosporine.

The conclusions were presented at the 13th International Congress of the Transplantation Society, meeting in San Francisco, and released simultaneously in Pittsburgh, where FK-506 has been used in nearly 800 clinical trials.

FK-506, derived from a soil fungus by Japanese scientists in 1984, is manufactured as a string of amino acids that suppress the body’s immune system.

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