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SNU team says drug shows hope for cirrhosis

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Jan 03,2003
A research team here says it has found a drug that may be effective in treating cirrhosis of the liver. Kim Sang-geon, a professor of pharmacy at Seoul National University, said yesterday that his team found that oltipraz, a drug being developed as an anti-carcinogen, has been effective in treating cirrhosis of the liver in mice. In cirrhosis of the liver, fibrous tissue develops, blocks the flow of blood through the organ and prevents it from performing its blood-filtering functions. Mr. Kim said in his experiments with mice, the drug dissolved existing fibers and prevented new ones from forming. The compound was originally developed in the 1960s as an agent to treat schistosomiasis, a snail-borne infection, and has been undergoing clinical trials as a cancer preventative. If further trials of its effectiveness in treating cirrhosis of the liver are successful, Mr. Kim added, the drug would be the first to address the fundamentals of the disease. In his experiments so far, about half the untreated mice with cirrhosis died after about four weeks, while all those given the drug survived. The World Health Organization says cirrhosis of the liver causes about 12 million deaths worldwide every year. In Korea, about 100,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. The research results were published in the January issue of the U.S. Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
by Kweon Hyuk-joo




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