Anticancer drugs might be of benefit to sickle-cell patients

Dec 06, 2007

Sickle cell disease (SCD) 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 and this causes them to get stuck in blood vessels, depriving the surrounding tissues of oxygen, which can lead to organ damage.

Although hydroxyurea, a treatment for SCD that works by increasing fetal Hb (HbF) expression, benefits some adults with moderate and severe SCD, it does not work for all individuals. Now, hope for a new therapy for SCD has been provided by the work of Laure A. Moutouh-de Parseval and colleagues working for Celgene Corporation.

In the study, lenalidomide and pomalidomide, immunomodulatory anticancer drugs, were both shown to be more effective than hydroxyurea at inducing HbF expression by erythrocytes derived in vitro from CD34+ cells from healthy individuals. In addition, the effects of pomalidomide and hydroxyurea on HbF expression were synergistic.

As pomalidomide was able to induce HbF expression in CD34+ cells from patients with SCD, the authors suggested that it might provide a new therapy for SCD, either alone or in combination with hydroxurea.

Furthermore, because the induction of HbF has been shown to be of some benefit to individuals with beta-thalassemia (a hereditary anemia caused by decreased beta-globin production), the authors also suggested that pomalidomide might be a good therapeutic for the treatment of beta-hemoglobinopathies other than SCD, such as beta-thalassemia.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Brazil finds coffee protein with morphine effect

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Journal team adds reviewer pay to open-access model

5 hours ago

A new open-access journal called Collabra plans to pay reviewers, and that's a twist in the world of scientific publishing. The reviewers get to exercise some options. They can keep the cash (generally a ...

Robot pens bond with grandpas, corporate execs

Jan 17, 2015

You call this evolution? Software-driven handwritten signatures are yesterday. In 2015, we can use technology to the point where we not only turn to humans to make robots that look human but we turn to robots ...

Recommended for you

Brazil finds coffee protein with morphine effect

1 hour ago

Brazilian scientists have discovered a protein in coffee that has effects similar to pain reliever morphine, researchers at the state University of Brasilia (UnB) and state-owned Brazilian Agricultural Research ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.