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Use of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) as a solvent for certain antineoplastic agents is associated with unexpected tissue destruction, Johns Hopkins investigators have found.
Impaired circulation caused by red cell clumps in the capillary beds and coating of arterioles apparently cause the damage.
The effect has been observed in both animals and man where DMSO was involved. (The Food and Drug Administration and six drug companies agreed to have the agent withdrawn from clinical trials on Nov 11, 1965, following reports of optic damage in animals.)
Reporting results of their investigation were three Baltimore physicians: J. Harold Johnson, MD, fellow in pathology; R. Robinson Baker, MD, instructor in surgery; and Sumner Wood, Jr., MD, associate professor of pathology.
Damage or destruction of tissues which were not expected to be affected by antineoplastic agents had been seen by several clinicians, they noted.
"We injected 90% to 100% DMSO solutions in rabbits' ears
DMSO Precipitates Tissue Destruction. JAMA. 1966;197(1):A31. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110010027011