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New Drug for Multiple Myeloma

separator There’s a new drug treatment available for people who have multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the bone marrow that’s often fatal. The new drug, marketed as Velcade, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients who have had relapses of their cancer after two other treatments.

There are about 50,000 Americans who have multiple myeloma. The survival rate used to be three years, but that’s changed in recent years as new drugs have become available. Thalidomide, which also is used to treat multiple myeloma, can cause remissions and tumor shrinkage in about one third of patients with this cancer.

In a clinical trial of Velcade, 28 percent of patients experienced tumor shrinkage and in 3 percent of patients, the cancer disappeared completely.

The New York Times, 14 May 2003
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