UVA Discovery Suggests Potential New Treatment for Deadly Blood Cancer

August 12, 2021 by hn6u@virginia.edu

Golam Mohi, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, served as senior researcher. (UVA Health photo)

Golam Mohi, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, served as senior researcher. (UVA Health photo)

A drug used to treat certain advanced breast cancers may offer a new treatment option for a deadly blood cancer known as myelofibrosis, new research from UVA Cancer Center suggests.

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.

“Current therapies only provide symptomatic relief without offering significant improvement of bone marrow fibrosis. So, there is a critical need to develop more effective therapy for myelofibrosis,” said senior researcher Golam Mohi of the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. “We have identified CDK6, a regulator of cell cycle, as a new therapeutic target in myelofibrosis. We demonstrate that CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib, in combination with ruxolitinib, markedly inhibits myelofibrosis, suggesting this drug combination could be an effective therapeutic strategy against this devastating blood disorder.”

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