Progress Made in Possible First Treatment for Lymphedema

Ketoprofen prevents tissue injury, fluid build-up by blocking leukotriene B<sub>4</sub>, researchers say
Ketoprofen prevents tissue injury, fluid build-up by blocking leukotriene B4, researchers say

HealthDay News — An underlying mechanism has been identified that could eventually lead to the first drug therapy for lymphedema, according to a study published online May 10 in Science Translational Medicine.

Stanley Rockson, MD, a professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues aimed to get a clearer understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive lymphedema. The researchers used lab mice induced to have a lymphedema-like condition.

The scientists found that ketoprofen prevented tissue injury and fluid build-up by blocking the protein leukotriene B4 (LTB4). The same protein was elevated in cell samples from lymphedema patients. Another drug called bestatin worked just as well. Bestatin is not approved in the United States, but it has been used for years in Japan as a cancer treatment. The advantage of the drug, Rockson told HealthDay, is that it has more selective action against LTB4 and fewer side effects than ketoprofen.  

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Based on the lab findings, a clinical trial testing bestatin against lymphedema is underway, Rockson said.

Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, based in Palo Alto, California, is funding that trial (and acquiring the drug from its Japanese manufacturer). Rockson and a colleague on the study are consultants to the company.

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