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Monday, January 09, 2006

Thalomid Slows Blood Cancer

Blood specialist Celgene said Monday its final-stage trials of Thalomid show the drug significantly delayed progression of a common blood cancer by nearly a year.

The company's phase III trial was stopped by an external monitoring committee after analysis showed multiple myelomas in patients taking Thalomid, and the steroid dexamethasone took about three times as long to progress as those in patients taking dexamethasone alone.

Patients who weren’t taking Thalomid were then given the opportunity to start.

"We also met our secondary endpoint, to increase progression-free survival," Celgene president and COO Sol J. Barer told an audience at the JPMorgan Annual Healthcare conference in San Francisco.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many malignant immunoglobulin-producing white blood cells. About 50,000 people in the United States alone have the disease, and about 16,000 new cases are diagnosed annually.


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