A drug that targets genetic flaws in blood cancer cells, the first medicine to treat the cause of th

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andmcn
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A drug that targets genetic flaws in blood cancer cells, the first medicine to treat the cause of th

Postby andmcn » 02 Mar 2009 23:23

The article and link below are from the Daily Mail today, 2nd March. It'll be of interest to many I'm sure.

A drug that targets genetic flaws in blood cancer cells, the first medicine to treat the cause of the disease, was launched today.

Vidaza, generic name azacitidine, targets genetic faults in the cells which cause the cancer and can help the body to produce healthy blood cells.

It can be used to treat sufferers of high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML) or acute myeloid leukaemia.

Dr Shabih Syed, scientific director of Leukaemia Research, said: ‘This offers hope to patients who currently only have the option of palliative treatment available.

‘Patients who received Vidaza in clinical trials not only had longer survival but also spent less time in hospital, had fewer serious infections and less need for transfusions.

‘The availability of this drug will greatly improve the quality of life of patients and also ease some of the burden on NHS treatment facilities.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1158373/New-drug-offers-hope-blood-cancer-patients.html

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Much the same with a bit more detail from the Channel 4 news site.

A drug that targets genetic flaws in blood cancer cells was launched in the UK, the first medicine to treat the cause of the disease.

Vidaza, generic name azacitidine, can be used to treat sufferers of high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML) or acute myeloid leukaemia.

It targets genetic faults in the cells which cause the cancer, and can help the body to produce healthy blood cells.

Scientific Director of the charity Leukaemia Research Dr Shabih Syed said: "Leukaemia Research welcomes this news as it offers real hope to patients who currently only have the option of palliative treatment available to them.

"Patients with these diseases only receive supportive care such as transfusions for anaemia, or treatment for infections. At the moment, the only treatment which can directly improve the outcome for these diseases is a stem cell transplant from a donor, but sadly few patients are usually fit enough for this to be an option.

"The newly approved Vidaza is the first drug to actually treat these conditions. Patients who received Vidaza in clinical trials not only had longer survival but also spent less time in hospital, had fewer serious infections and less need for transfusions. The availability of this drug will greatly improve the quality of life of patients and also ease some of the burden on NHS treatment facilities."

According to a study published in The Lancet Oncology, after two years 50.8% of patients treated with azacitidine had survived compared to 26.2% of those having chemotherapy. The trial, carried out between February 13, 2004, and August 7, 2006, involved 358 patients.

The manufacturer of the drug said on average life expectancy was 15 months for someone receiving conventional treatment, but 24.5 months for someone using the new medicine.

Vidaza works by blocking a process called methylation, which shuts down genes essential for the development of blood cells. It has been tried at a number of centres including King's College Hospital in Denmark Hill, south east London.

The drug was found to reduce the number of hospital stays for a patient by a quarter and decrease or remove the need for blood transfusions. The number of people who contracted infections, which can be a hazard for MDS sufferers, was also reduced by a third.

You will need to cut and paste the whole link below into your browser.

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/society/health/new+blood+cancer+drug+launched/3007652



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