From the late 1950s to the end of 1961, thalidomide was a popular sedative and treatment for morning sickness until it was discovered to cause fetal malformations, which proved fatal within the first year of life in 40 percent of affected infants.
The drug was never marketed in the United States or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. But researchers recognized the drug’s properties might have cancer-fighting potential. This possibility has driven promising studies into thalidomide’s role in fighting blood disorders, such as multiple myeloma, a deadly cancer for which there is no cure. Mayo Clinic Proceedings’ July issue offers four studies that have probed thalidomide’s promising future after its tragic past.
"The most common indication for thalidomide use today is multiple myeloma and related plasma cell disorders," says S. Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, in a commentary article in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "Thalidomide represents a new era in therapy for this incurable and fatal malignancy."
John Murphy | EurekAlert!
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