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: Researchers take 'first baby step' toward anti-aging drug

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Opportunity rover struggles with flash memory problems

38 minutes ago

NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, also known as "Oppy", is continuing its traverse southward on the western rim of Endeavour Crater despite computer resets and "amnesia" that have occurred after reformatting ...

Hubbles spies the beautiful galaxy IC 335

22 minutes ago

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the galaxy IC 335 in front of a backdrop of distant galaxies. IC 335 is part of a galaxy group containing three other galaxies, and located in the Fornax ...

Recommended for you

Biomedical team creates 'nerve on a chip'

Dec 24, 2014

Michael J. Moore and J. Lowry Curley first met in the laboratory as professor and student. Now the two Tulane University researchers have started a new biomedical company that's winning praise and awards.

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.