When people hear "thalidomide," many think "birth defects," however, evidence has come to light that this once-banned drug can be used as a potent anti-cancer treatment. In a new study, researchers from the University of Bologna, Italy, demonstrate that Thal-Dex (thalidomide used in combination with dexamethasone) is more powerful than conventional chemotherapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma. Their findings will be published in the July 1, 2005, issue of Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.
Each year, approximately 15,000 Americans are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable and painful disease of the bone marrow. Most patients who receive this diagnosis have less than five years to live; however, many can undergo autologous (self-donor) stem cell transplants to help prolong survival. Although thalidomide has been studied for the treatment of advanced stages of multiple myeloma since the late 1990s, this is the first large study to compare its effectiveness to standard drugs as part of front-line therapy with stem cell transplantation.
Because the odds for a successful transplant increase as the number of cancer cells decreases, patients receive chemotherapy a few months before the procedure. In this study, 100 multiple myeloma patients given Thal-Dex before transplant were compared to 100 patients given traditional chemotherapy with VAD (a combination of three drugs: vincristine, adriamycin, and dexamethasone).
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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