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Drugs ‘double cancer patient life’


A new treatment has been found to double the survival time of those with multiple myeloma.

The findings follow a trial which combined a standard and new chemotherapy drug to treat the blood cancer, which kills 2,400 people in the UK each year.

The combination of drugs added an average of 4.7 years to the lifespan of patients with the disease, according to the findings of an international trial.

In comparison, treatment with just the standard drug extended life by only 1.9 years.

The results were so dramatic that researchers unblinded the trial so that all the patients could receive the combination treatment.

Half of the 850 patients, including some from the UK, who took part in the trial were given a new drug, lenalidomide, as well as the standard treatment, dexamethasone. Other patients received dexamethasone plus a placebo.

The trial was to have remained double blinded for an estimated 10 years. But an ethical decision was taken to unblind the trial after 18 months when it became clear that some patients were surviving significantly longer than others.

The trial results were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Society for Haemotology in Glasgow.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

The British Society for Haematology

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