SmithKline Beecham will begin a nationwide multicenter studywithin two months to determine if its clot-buster drug Eminasecan be used to treat heart attack victims before they reach thehospital.

Eminase requires only a single injection instead of continuousinfusions, which are required for tissue plasminogen activator(t-PA) and streptokinase.

Dr. Peter Maroko, who will run the Eminase trials forSmithKline, told BioWorld that the studies will compareEminase treatment in a hospital with treatment by paramedicsunder a doctor's direction. Maroko predicted that at least onehour will be saved by treating patients in an ambulance priorto hospital admission.

Neither Astra Pharmaceuticals, which markets streptokinase,nor Genentech Inc., which sells t-PA, could be reached forcomment.

Genentech began studies in Seattle about two years ago todetermine the practicality of beginning intravenous t-PAadministration en route to the hospital, said spokesman JackMurphy. He said that although the results were good fortreated patients, it was difficult to get approval from thephysician at the hospital to start treatment in a timely fashion.The studies are still under evaluation, he said.

-- Carol Talkington Verser, Ph.D. Special to BioWorld

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.