Doctors have been using streptokinase to treat heart-attack patients since the late 1970s, but the new study should encourage them to use the drug more often, Ryan said.
The enzyme dissolves blood clots, which clog arteries leading to the heart. When the arteries clog, blood is cut off, causing a heart attack and damaging heart muscle.
By administering the enzyme as quickly as possible, doctors believe, they can limit the amount of damage to the heart by restoring blood flow quickly.
Although several patients experienced allergic reactions and some minor bleeding, no serious side-effects were reported in the study, which was published in today's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.
About 1.5 million Americans suffer heart attacks each year. About 540,000 Americans die each year from heart attacks, making heart attack the nation's leading killer.
Refinements in fat suctioning have made America's most popular cosmetic surgery much more versatile than it was five years ago, but consumers should beware of some variations and some practitioners, a plastic surgeons group said yesterday.
In an analysis of 100,000 U.S. fat-suction procedures during a five-year period, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons said it has documented 11 deaths and nine cases of serious complications.
Most of the complications resulted from blood clots or fat blocking vessels to the heart, brain or lungs, the society said.
One pioneer of fat suctioning accused the 2,800-member group of engaging in an "unconscionable" campaign to convince people that plastic surgeons are the only physicians qualified to do the procedure.
"It is a turf battle over one of the hottest cosmetic procedures in the United States today," said Julius Newman, chairman of cosmetic surgery at the Graduate Hospital, affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Newman, who also is president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, based in Pacific Palisades, Calif., said Tuesday that plastic surgeons were trying to "discredit" other specialties.
Fat suctioning, or liposuction, involves inserting a tubular instrument under the skin and suctioning off fat tissue that is resistant to dieting.
Some variations of the technique are riskier than others and some doctors who perform it are poorly trained in it, the society said.
Difficulties with liposuction are more likely when it is used for large amounts of fat - more than two quarts - which require the patient to be under general anesthesia, to be watched overnight and to have donated some of his or her own blood in advance, the society said.
But Newman said specialists such as eye surgeons and orthopedists may in many cases be better qualified than plastic surgeons to do liposuction because they would be more familiar with the areas of the body on which they would be performing the procedure.
The surgeons group reported that liposuction has been overused. Practitioners who lack training in alternative plastic surgery procedures may offer the procedure when it is a poor option, its report said.
Lung-cancer tumors lack some normal genetic material, indicating that loss of a key gene may promote one form of the nation's leading cancer killer, a new study says.
If the gene can be isolated, it might lead to new therapies for "small- cell" lung cancer, which strikes 30,000 to 40,000 people a year, said researcher John Minna.
The gene also may play a role in other types of lung cancer, and in cancers of the skin and kidney, said Minna, chief of the NCI-Navy Medical Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute, and professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.
Small-cell lung cancer accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the nation's 150,000 annual lung cancer cases and about a quarter of its 136,000 lung cancer deaths each year, according to the cancer institute.
The new findings are published in today's issue of the British journal Nature by Minna, Susan Naylor of the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and their colleagues.
In contrast to cancer-causing oncogenes, the gene seems to suppress cancer
somehow, so that malignancy appears when the gene is damaged or missing.
Evidence for similar "anti-oncogenes," also called suppressor genes, has been found in several cancers, including colon-rectum cancer, the nation's second most common serious malignancy.