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August 20, 1982

NMR used to study drugs' toxic effects

JAMA. 1982;248(7):814-819. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330070010004

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Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is fast gaining recognition as a potentially powerful tool for the study of metabolic events in tissue, including those produced by drugs.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas have been using NMR to study the nature of the cardiotoxic effects of the anticancer agent doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin) on rabbit hearts by analyzing the resonance signals emitted by phosphorus 31.

Preliminary findings, says biophysicist Ray L. Nunnally, PhD, suggest that in vivo spectra produced by NMR not only identify the early cardiac changes that lead to irreversible damage but also may help pinpoint how doxorubicin exerts its injurious effects at the molecular level.

A long-established drug, doxorubicin is used to treat a wide variety of cancers. Careful adherence to guidelines for use of the drug has limited the incidence of cardiotoxicity to less than a few percent of patients. Irreversible damage,