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Experimental drug fends off emphysema in mice

Tests suggest edible drug might help ex-smokers

A compound that revs up the production of homegrown antioxidant proteins in the body prevents emphysema from developing in mice exposed to cigarette smoke for six months, a new study finds. The study is the latest in a series to hint at big things for the experimental drug CDDO-imidazole, or CDDO-Im. Separately, scientists are testing a similar drug against cancer in people.

The new findings appear online Dec. 22 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even though the study focuses on emphysema in mice, the researchers suggest the drug could work in people by delaying or preventing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis and is the fourth most common cause of death in the United States.

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