Thalidomide As Cancer Treatment


Thalidomide is a very old drug that promotes a person's immune system to respond to and prevent inflammation from occurring in the body.

Thalidomide is used for the treatment of an inflammatory complication of leprosy known as erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL), which causes skin sores. It also has applications in the cancer community.

Thalidomide History

The history of thalidomide is a very unfortunate one. The drug was originally developed in Europe and prescribed to pregnant women as it was believed to help curb morning sickness and aide against other aspects of pregnancy. The drug was widely distributed and even reached the United States.

The reality turned out to be far worse, as the drug caused severe birth defects. In fact, Thalidomide is partly responsible for the extremely long and thorough drug regulatory system currently in place in the U.S.

That was in the 1960s. In the 1990s, researchers learned that thalidomide could be useful in other circumstances, and in 1998 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved thalidomide as a new molecular entity in 1998.

Thalidomide Today in Blood Cancers

Today, thalidomide serves the blood cancer community in the treatment of a bone marrow cancer known as multiple myeloma. It is administered either as a single agent in oral (pill) form, or in combination with a chemotherapeutic drug called dexamethasone.

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