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Drug Used to Prevent HIV Transmission from Mother to Child Damages DNA

ility of increased cancer risk for a subset of these children in mid and late adulthood appears highly plausible," the authors state. The carcinogenic effects of AZT were further demonstrated by a study on mice led by Hue-Hua Hong of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC. This study found mutations in the K-ras and p53 cancer genes that are often mutated in human lung tumors. The development of lung cancer in these mice suggests that the incorporation of AZT or its metabolites into DNA, oxidative stress, and genomic instability may be the contributing factors to the pattern of mutations observed in the study, according to the authors. They conclude, "The cumulative mutagenesis data suggest that infants exposed transplacentally to AZT may be at increased risk for cancer as they age."

In the first of the two human studies, researchers led by Patricia A. Escobar of the University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, PA, measured DNA damage caused by AZT in the blood of newborns. They found increased frequencies of glycophorin A mutations in the red blood cells of newborns who had been exposed to AZT plus lamivudine (another type of NRTI) in utero, and these changes persisted for the most part through one year of age. The researchers note that although the combination of the two NRTIs is more effective at preventing transmission of HIV from mother to fetus, it is also more genotoxic than AZT alone. They conclude that "there is a need for careful monitoring of the future health of children who received peripartum AZT-based therapies, the development of new safer NRTIs, and the identification of antimutagenic drugs that will mitigate the side effects of NRTI-based highly active antiretroviral therapy."

In the second study involving humans, researchers led by Kristine L. Witt of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC measured the frequency of immature red blood c
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TAG: Drug Used Prevent HIV Transmission from Mother Child Damages DNA

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