Sickle cell disease patients may benefit from anticancer drugs

December 7th, 2007 - 2:44 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, December 7 (ANI): Anticancer drugs lenalidomide and pomalidomide appear to have a quality that may be beneficial for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD), according to a study.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder caused by a genetic mutation that leads to the generation of a mutant form of the beta-globin chain of hemoglobin (Hb).

Red blood cells containing Hb with this mutant beta-globin chain change shape upon deoxygenation, get stuck in blood vessels, deprive the surrounding tissues of oxygen, and thus lead to organ damage.

A treatment called hydroxyurea benefits some adults with moderate and severe SCD by by increasing fetal Hb (HbF) expression. However, it does not work for all individuals.

Now, Laure A. Moutouh-de Parseval and colleagues working for Celgene Corporation have found that immunomodulatory anticancer drugs lenalidomide and pomalidomide are more effective than hydroxyurea at inducing HbF expression by erythrocytes derived in vitro from CD34+ cells from healthy individuals.

The researchers also found that the effects of f pomalidomide and hydroxyurea on HbF expression were synergistic.

Given that pomalidomide was able to induce HbF expression in CD34+ cells from patients with SCD, the authors of the study now believe that it may provide a new therapy for SCD, either alone or in combination with hydroxurea.

The authors also believe that pomalidomide may be a good therapeutic for the treatment of beta-hemoglobinopathies other than SCDlike beta-thalassemia, a hereditary anemia caused by decreased beta-globin production. (ANI)

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