Credit: Celgene Corporation

The drug thalidomide, sold as Thalomid (shown above) by the Celgene Corp.
As the legendary phoenix rose from the ashes, so the drug thalidomide, responsible for severe birth defects across Europe in the early 1960s, is rising again and finding new uses. At the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology held in San Francisco on December 4, 2000, researchers reported promising results with thalidomide in patients with multiple myeloma or myelodysplasias, a group of proliferative disorders of the bone marrow.

The drug, sold as Thalomid by Celgene Corp. of Warren, N.Y., was approved in 1998 to treat complications of leprosy. Analogs and derivatives of thalidomide that temper the famed and feared teratogenic effect are in the pipeline too. "We are developing new compounds to harness the beneficial aspects of this drug, while minimizing the negative attributes, to offer patients new therapies in fatal and...

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