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Research findings expected to ease treatment of low neutrophil counts in cancer patients
Date:3/10/2010

tropenia treatment for all childhood cancer patients. The study's participants ranged in age from 28 days to 21 years.

"A large percentage of childhood cancer patients get growth factor support during their therapy," Spunt explained. "The injections are painful for patients and difficult for parents, especially the parents of young children who often need two adults to administer the drug daily. The burdens of therapy for them are considerable."

Sabrina, who did not participate in this study, said she became accustomed to the daily shots administered by her grandmother, Alice Spence. But Sabrina always held tight to her mother's hand when the time came. She was happy when the daily injections were replaced by a single shot.

In the study, researchers reported that after the first round of chemotherapy with vincristine, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, neutrophil levels started to rise in half the patients five days after treatment with pegfilgrastim, compared with six days for the filgrastim group. By the third round of chemotherapy, which followed additional treatment with ifosfamide and etoposide, half the patients in both groups were improving in seven days.

Both pegfilgrastim and filgrastim are made by Amgen, a California-based pharmaceutical company. Filgrastim is metabolized in the kidneys. Pegfilgrastim includes a polyethylene glycol tail and is broken down by neutrophils. As a result, pegfilgrastim levels drop as the patient's neutrophils climb.


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Contact: Summer Freeman
summer.freeman@stjude.org
901-595-3061
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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