In modern times, medical science has controlled many of the diseases which are once deadly. Unfortunately, cancer still remains to be one of the biggest health problems across the globe. Although cancer still has a very high mortality rate, there is new ongoing research on it.
A new study has also focused on the treatment of bone marrow cancer. According to the study, a new time of drug known as lenalidomide may have the potential to treat and control myeloma.
The research was held by researchers at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. People with recently diagnosed bone marrow cancer were recruited in it. The findings of the study are published in the journal The Lancet.
Read the study here.
How Was the Study Conducted?
The research team studied how long-term therapy using lenalidomide (trade name Revlimid®) increases the remission duration and enhances the survival rate in young cancer patients.
Myeloma is a special type of cancer that affects our plasma cells. It may damage multiple organs and parts of the body and the current treatment includes chemotherapy or a stem-cell transplant.
The research team, led by Professor Graham Jackson at Northern Institute for Cancer Research at Newcastle University in collaboration with a Consultant Haematologist at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital investigated this study.
The research has received so much appreciation considering bone marrow cancer has less effective treatment and high mortality rate.
What Did the Study Show?
This study is called Myeloma XI, which is an extensive, seven-year-long study having more than 4,000 patients from 110 hospitals in the UK. This study was sponsored and funded by Cancer Research UK as well as educational grants.
In this study, the total number of 1,137 newly diagnosed patients was given lenalidomide and out of these, 834 patients were under observation. This experiment was started after all of these completed their first round of treatment.
The results showed that this drug lenalidomide is helpful to prolong the average remission time for more than two years. However, it is more common in younger patients. For older patients, this remission time is one year. But anyways this is breakthrough news as it reduces the risk of death by more than 50%.
This treatment is not available right now for any patients. But this research is an indication that lenalidomide may be soon added to the treatment of Myeloma.
The results are confirmatory of three smaller studies that showed similar results. In these studies, after stem cell transplant, the same drug lenalidomide lowered the risk of disease progression as well as death by 50% in comparison with those without it.
What Is the Significance of Lenalidomide?
Lenalidomide is helpful in multiple types of cancer and not just myeloma alone. It works by reducing and gradually stopping the cancer cell growth.
Sometimes doctors recommend it to anemic patients having certain blood or bone marrow conditions. It is not recommended to use it on its own for any type of cancer.
It may show some minor side effects in patients such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, irregular sleeping. The majority of the time, these signs go away on their own. However, if these remain for longer, the doctor may switch the treatment.
In a similar way, some people are not advised to take any treatment using lenalidomide as it may not be suitable for them. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also included in this category.