1. Section Editor(s): Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWOCN

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THYMOSIN [beta]4

In the first study evaluating Thymosin [beta]4 (T[beta]4) in diabetic animals, T[beta]4 significantly accelerated the healing of wounds in this model. The study, conducted at the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with scientists at the George Washington University Medical Center, extends earlier published studies indicating that T[beta]4 improved wound healing in aged, steroid-suppressed, and normal laboratory animals.


The data were presented at the 6th Annual International Symposium on Aging Skin in Chicago, IL, by Dr Allan Goldstein, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the George Washington University Medical School and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, and the Chief Scientific Advisor for RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc, Bethesda, MD. RegeneRx is developing T[beta]4 for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds and for the treatment of a variety of human diseases involving tissue and organ repair. The company holds an exclusive worldwide license from the National Institutes of Health related to the technology, holds several patents related to the technology, and has numerous patent applications pending.


T[beta]4 is a naturally occurring 43-amino acid peptide that regulates actin and down-regulates certain inflammatory cytokines, both of which are vital for the healing of acute and chronic wounds. T[beta]4, representing a new class of wound healing compound, has been shown to effectively repair dermal and corneal wounds in several animal models under a variety of conditions. It has been delivered topically and systemically, with both routes of administration showing similar activity for dermal wounds. Research suggests that T[beta]4 is active across a broad spectrum of wounds with various underlying causes, possibly indicating that it is a necessary component of the wound repair process.



In the largest comparator-controlled study investigating treatments for methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus(MRSA) infections conducted to date, research led by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Los Angeles, CA, shows that linezolid is a safe and effective alternative to standard therapy for many serious MRSA infections, including complicated skin and soft tissue infections and hospital-acquired pneumonia. Linezolid (Zyvox injection and tablets) is the first from a new class of antibiotics-the oxazolidinones-to reach the market in more than 3 decades. Linezolid is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with susceptible strains of designated organisms, including patients with nosocomial pneumonia and skin and skin structure infections caused by MRSA infections.


In the trial, 460 patients with suspected or proven MRSA infections were enrolled at 104 sites in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Patients were randomized to receive either IV linezolid (n=240), 600 mg every 12 hours, or vancomycin (n=220), 1 gram IV every 12 hours, for at least 7 days. After clinical improvement, linezolid IV-treated patients could be switched to oral linezolid, 600 mg every 12 hours, at the discretion of the investigator. In this study, 61% of the patients receiving linezolid were switched to the oral therapy, most within 5 days of treatment.


Linezolid was found to be clinically and microbiologically as effective as standard vancomycin therapy in patients initially hospitalized with MRSA infections, including skin and soft tissue infections and hospital-acquired pneumonia. Both regimens were well tolerated by the patients, with no observed difference in the number or type of adverse events. In addition, linezolid-resistance to Staphylococcus aureus was not detected.


Source: Stevens DL, Herr D, Lampiris H, Hunt JL, Batts DH, Hafkin B. Linezolid versus vancomycin injection for the treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylcoccus aureus (MRSA) infections. Clin Infect Dis 2002;34:1481-90.



CoSeal surgical sealant from Cohesion Technologies, Inc, Palo Alto, CA, has been shown to significantly reduce postsurgical adhesions compared with controls in 21 pediatric cardiac cases in Europe. Following successful preclinical studies showing strong potential for preventing adhesions in cardiac and gynecologic models and an abdominal reformation model, Cohesion is conducting a clinical study in Europe evaluating CoSeal for the prevention of postsurgical adhesions. The clinical model involves newborn babies with congenital heart defects requiring multiple surgeries. This particular clinical model requires a second follow-up surgery as part of the routine treatment for these patients, allowing surgeons to clearly determine whether adhesions were significantly reduced or prevented.



Research presented at the annual meeting for the Society for Investigative Dermatology, held in Los Angeles, CA, indicates that consumption of the antioxidant lutein, found in such dark green, leafy vegetables as spinach and kale, may protect the skin against some of the damaging effects of the sun. The team of researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston University Medical School fed mice lutein-enriched diets for a period of 2 weeks. A control group of mice was fed a standard, nonsupplemented diet. Both groups of mice were exposed to UVB light, 5 days a week, for a period of 22 weeks. The study showed that the mice fed lutein-rich diets could be exposed to UVB light for a significantly longer period before developing tumors when compared with the mice fed a standard diet. In addition, the mice fed lutein-rich diets developed significantly fewer and smaller tumors. The mice fed lutein-rich diets also showed reduced inflammation of the skin and signs of reduced skin cell damage.


The research was supported by a grant from Kemin Foods, a division of Kemin Foods, LC, Des Moines, IA.