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May 16, 2005

Cancer Treatment Success Stuns Scientists

Topics: Medical Science News

From research conducted at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla, comes word of a treatment success in a deadly blood disorder, myelodysplastic syndrome(MDS).

The myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) can be divided into "early" and "advanced" disease by evaluation of prognostic variables such as the number of cytopenias, karyotype, and percentage of myeloblasts. Patients with an isolated interstitial deletion of chromosome 5q31 represent a distinct subset who may derive particular benefit from immunomodulatory drugs. Goals of therapy for early MDS focus on hematologic improvement and maximizing quality of life. Thalidomide, the prototype of the immunomodulatory drugs, yields major erythroid responses in some patients with early MDS, but dose-limiting neurologic toxicities limit its potential clinical benefit. Lenalidomide, a more potent and non-neurotoxic derivative, has shown promising results in early MDS, yielding hematologic improvement in almost half of patients, and transfusion independence with cytogenetic remissions in approximately two thirds of patients harboring the chromosome 5q31 deletion.

No one could have been more surprised than the doctors themselves. They were just hoping to relieve the symptoms of a deadly blood disorder — and ended up treating the disease itself. In nearly half of the people who took the experimental drug, the cancer became undetectable.

Specialists said Revlimid now looks like a breakthrough and the first effective treatment for many people with myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, which is even more common than leukemia.

"It may be, if not eradicating the disease, putting it into what I would call deep remission," said Dr. David Johnson, a cancer specialist at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center who is familiar with but had no role in the research.

Revlimid "is not yet on the market but almost certainly will be" because of these findings, he said.

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Analysts at Robert W Baird reiterated their "neutral" rating on Celgene Corporation although the target price has been raised from $38 to $42 [more].

Here is the press release put out by Celegne, the producer of Revlimid:

Hat tip - Blogicus
Edited by - Hyscience

Posted by Richard at May 16, 2005 1:21 PM


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