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Penn's Abramson Cancer Center part of major phase III study for myeloma
Date:11/21/2007

PHILADELPHIA Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania announced today that findings from two large, international clinical trials show unprecedented survival for patients with multiple myeloma, a cancer that occurs in the blood-making cells of bone marrow. The findings show that with the oral drug lenalidomide (REVLIMID), in combination with the steroid dexamethasone, patients significantly improved by all measures where previous treatments had failed including a median survival of nearly three years the longest median survival known for this difficult to treat patient group. Edward A. Stadtmauer, MD, Director of the Abramson Cancer Center Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program and lead investigator from Penn, was part of the U.S. study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine alongside a companion study from Europe showing similar results.

"Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a growing interest and concern of cancer clinicians and researchers," said Stadtmauer. "While most U.S. cancer diagnoses are decreasing, statistics show that the number of myeloma diagnoses is increasing, particularly in younger patients. This disturbing trend fuels the urgency to discover effective treatments to fight this disease. This study shows that this new class of drugs is a critical advance toward meeting that need."

REVLIMID (lenalidomide) from Celgene, an oral medication which treats without the ravages of chemotherapy, is the first in a new class of medications called immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs). It works by attacking both the cancer cell and the micro-environment in which it lives in the bone marrow, thereby stopping the cells ability to adhere to the wall of tissues where they will grow. REVLIMID may also inhibit cancer cells ability to hide from the bodys natural killer cells in the immune system by stopping angiogenesis the growth of blood vessels that penetrate into and feed cancero
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Contact: Olivia Fermano
Olivia.Fermano@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5653
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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