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GEN News Highlights : Dec 11, 2006

Scientists Identify Pathways that Mediate Side Effects from Myeloma Treatment

Findings explain why certain patients suffer blood clots from Thalidomide.

Researchers with the International Myeloma Foundation's Bank On A Cure® (BOAC) identified genetic pathways that could explain why some patients suffer from blood clots when undergoing treatment with thalidomide for multiple myeloma. The pathways may shed light on individual differences in the response to cancer and its treatment and may lead to the development of screenings and tailored interventions to prevent these side effects, the scientists say.

Celgene’s Thalidomide is a treatment for multiple myeloma that has been shown to extend and improve the quality of life for myeloma patients. However, an estimated 15% to 30% of patients treated with thalidomide get venous thromboembolisms (VTEs).

The BOAC team looked at genetic differences between patients who suffered from blood clots and those who didn’t. They identified four gene clusters associated with the VTEs as well as the specific SNPs that can be used as markers to predict which patients are most likely to experience blood clots.