WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- University of Virginia researchers have found out that
a drug used to treat certain advanced breast cancers may offer a new treatment option for a deadly blood cancer known as myelofibrosis.
According to the new research the drug, palbociclib, may be able to prevent the scarring of bone marrow that existing treatments for myelofibrosis cannot. This scarring disrupts the marrow’s production of blood cells and causes severe anemia that leaves patients weak and fatigued. The scarring also reduces the number of platelets in the blood, making clotting difficult, and often causes an enlarged spleen.
Previous treatments showed that treatments for myelofibrosis did not address the bone marrow scarring that was a hallmark of the disease. The drug ruxolitinib is used to relieve patients’ symptoms, but University of Virginia’s new research suggests that pairing the drug with palbociclib may make a far superior treatment.
Myelofibrosis is a form of leukemia. It occurs in approximately 1 to 1.5 of every 100,000 people, primarily those who are middle-aged or older. Patients with intermediate or high-risk cases typically survive only 16 to 35 months.