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Researchers identify potential therapeutic target for ER-negative breast cancer

May 30, 2017

Lenalidomide already is approved for anemia as well as a cancer of the white blood cells called multiple myeloma and is currently under study for other cancers. When GHSU researchers approached drug-maker Celgene Corporation about the study, the New Jersey-based company shared laboratory evidence that pomalidomide, a more potent and closely related cousin of lenalidomide, had the added benefit of increasing fetal hemoglobin expression and proliferation of CD34+ progenitor cells, which make red blood cells. When the researchers looked at pomalidomide's impact on fetal hemoglobin and bone marrow function in their mouse model, they found similar results.

"Pomalidomide produced about as much fetal hemoglobin as hydroxyurea but the bone marrow was entirely intact," Meiler said. The laboratory work prompted them to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial of the drug for sickle cell disease with Wayne State University in Michigan. Because of past experience with thalidomide, women of child-bearing age receive a pregnancy test and contraception counseling before entering the study. Participants taking pomalidomide also can't have taken hydroxyurea for at least several months to help ensure any results are from the newer drug.

Source: Georgia Health Sciences University