A therapy combining two existing drugs could provide an effective new approach for treating patients with pleural infections, a serious condition where infected fluid builds up in the space between the ribs and lungs.
A randomised clinical trial conducted by Oxford University researchers in the UK and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that two drugs for breaking up the thick pleural fluid, when used together, improve drainage of the fluid from the chest.
The combination of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) and DNase also appears to significantly reduce the need for surgery, shorten the time patients spend in hospital and reduce fever.
‘This is an exciting result because this combination of two drugs has not been tested before for this condition. While neither drug appears to work on its own, the combination therapy very significantly improves the drainage of the infected fluid,’ says Dr Najib Rahman of the Oxford Respiratory Trials Unit at Oxford University, and first author on the study.