Alan List, M.D., leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, recently conducted a phase I/II trial of the experimental drug Revlimid showing promise as an innovative way to treat patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), a form of pre-leukemia. Given in pill form, Revlimid simultaneously blocks the growth of new blood vessels that nourish tumors (anti-angiogenesis) and stimulates the immune system to fight cancer cells. The study is reported in the Feb.10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nearly 90 percent of MDS patients are anemic and require regular transfusions of red cells. In this study, 91 percent of the MDS patients with a chromosome abnormality named 5q minus syndrome became transfusion independent. The defective 5q chromosome abnormality may be linked to other serious cancers, including leukemias and small cell lung cancer.
In another finding of the same study, all the patients with the 5q deletion who became transfusion independent also went into cytogenetic remission, meaning that the chromosome abnormality disappeared.
Andrea Brunais | EurekAlert!
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