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The Lancet Oncology

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Data Shows Major Advances in Several Blood Disorders

Late breaking data presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in San Francisco, CA,(December 6 – 9, 2008) highlighted major research advances in the treatment of cancer and sickle cell disease.

One of the highlighted studies examined the ability of an investigational agent to improve endothelial dysfunction, a malfunction in the inner lining of blood vessels, in patients with sickle cell disease.

‘Abnormal function of the cells lining blood vessels may contribute to the complications of sickle cell disease. Disruption in the synthesis of nitric oxide, an important regulator of blood vessel relaxation, contributes to these abnormalities,' said Nancy Berliner, MD, 2009 ASH President and Chief of Hematology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. ‘This study showcases a novel investigational treatment that aims at improving nitric oxide production and reducing endothelial dysfunction.’

Other late-breaking studies are showcasing the results of the first large-scale study examining mortality rates in patients with cancer taking erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) for the treatment of anemia, and the discovery of a new tumor suppressor gene in patients with myeloproliferative disorders.

'There is now additional evidence concerning the use of ESAs in patients with cancer. Last year, ASH collaborated with the American Society of Clinical Oncology to release an evidence-based clinical practice guideline on the use of ESAs, and the findings of this study are consistent with the guideline’s recommendations,' said Samuel Silver, MD, Chair of the ASH Subcommittee on Reimbursement and Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. ‘However, we plan to reconvene the guideline panel to determine whether any updates should be made as a result of these new data.'

Also read blog entry:
  • A Tumor Suppressor Gene Inactivated in Myeloproliferative Neoplasms
  • A Novel Therapy for Endothelial Dysfunction in Sickle Cell Disease
  • Understanding Recombinant Human Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents in individual Cancer Patients

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