Researchers say Breast Cancer drugs could be used in potential treatment for deadly blood cancer

A potential new treatment for people with myelofibrosis

According to new study from UVA Cancer Center, a medication used to treat some advanced breast forms might provide a new therapy option for myelofibrosis, a fatal blood cancer. New drugs for myelofibrosis are especially needed since ruxolitinib does not significantly reduce bone marrow fibrosis and loses efficacy with time, according to the scientists.

Palbociclib, a medication may be able to reduce bone marrow scarring, which is now unavoidable in myelofibrosis therapies. This scarring interferes with the formation of blood cells in the marrow, resulting in severe anemia that leaves patients weak and tired. Scarring also lowers the amount of platelets in the blood, making clotting more difficult, and frequently results in an enlargement of the spleen.

When the medication was combined with ruxolitinib, the mice’s bone marrow and white blood cell counts were restored, and the size of their enlarged spleens was substantially reduced. More studies need to be done to see if the results can be applied to human patients.

Palbociclib has been shown to reduce bone marrow activity in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Palbociclib lowered bone marrow damage in two mouse models of myelofibrosis, as well as the high numbers of white blood cells associated with this form of malignancy and the mice’s enlarged spleens.

More insights on the research

Senior researcher was Golam Mohi, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the School of Medicine from University of Virginia. Mohi claimed that the results of this research are highly promising, and that he and his team encourage further research into the pairing of palbociclib and ruxolitinib in patients with myelofibrosis. Mohi and his colleagues summarized their findings in a new science article:

‘A combinatorial therapeutic approach involving palbociclib and ruxolitinib will enable lowering the doses of each of the inhibitors and thus reducing toxicities while enhancing the therapeutic efficacy.’

Additionally, Mohi says that current treatments only give symptomatic relief and do not alter the severity of bone marrow fibrosis. As a result, more effective therapy for myelofibrosis is urgently needed.

CDK6, a cell cycle regulator, has been discovered as a novel therapeutic target in myelofibrosis. They show that combining the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib with the ruxolitinib suppresses myelofibrosis significantly, indicating that this medication combination might be a viable treatment strategy against this deadly blood condition.

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