New steroid treatment for kids with lung condition

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New York, May 9 (IANS) A team of researchers, including one of an Indian-origin, has developed a new steroid treatment for children suffering from a life-threatening lung condition.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a catch-all term associated with the inability of lung tissue to take up oxygen. The lungs of patients with this condition become very stiff and are incapable of transferring oxygen into the blood.

“Over the last 20-30 years researchers have come up with novel therapies but have not been able to move the needle substantially in terms of reducing mortality of ARDS patients,” said Kanwaljeet Anand, professor at Stanford University in California, US.

In the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, the team conducted the first-ever randomised control trial and saw clinical differences in children treated with steroids.

Children in intensive care units requiring mechanical ventilation were treated with the drugs corticosteroid and methylprednisolone.

The findings showed suppressed inflammation, “although the trial did not improve mortality or the duration that mechanical ventilation was required, the children’s ventilation and blood oxygenation improved,” explained one of the researchers Dai Kimura from University of Tennessee in US.

“This is a very significant outcome as, even with a small pilot study, we were able to demonstrate significant differences in those treated with steroids,” Anand added.

To develop an effective steroid treatment for ARDS, the team needed more information how steroids affect lung inflammation.

“The study found that there are important differences in biomarker levels in the children that received the steroids, compared with those who did not,” Kimura noted.

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