Here is an interesting article I read on a San Antonio television Website last week about a new bone strengthening agent labeled BHQ880:
S.A. patients helping test novel bone building therapy for multiple myeloma
by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5
Posted on April 8, 2010 at 3:00 PM
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow. A San Antonio man with the disease is one of the first patients in the world to test a new drug to help regenerate bone.
68-year-old Claude Jemeyson of San Antonio is feeling pretty good these days. He remembers well the moment four years ago he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
“I fell,” he recalled. “I thought I broke my shoulder so they did some x-rays. And when they did the x-rays, it wasn’t broken, but they found the cancer. I had no idea.”
The cancer can create holes in the bones, a major cause of problems in patients like Jemeyson.
Now, he’s helping to test a totally new medication. At the U.T. Health Science Center’s Cancer Therapy and Research Center, he gets an intravenous drug. It’s an experimental treatment called BHQ880. It’s an antibody designed to stimulate the bone-forming cells called osteoblasts.
“For the first time, as we understand the biology, we think that the primary problem in multiple myeloma is lack of stimulus for bone formation,” explained Dr. Swaminathan Padmanabhan, a UTHSC hematologist. “This drug actually addresses that.”
In other words, the therapy is designed to prompt the body to do what it did naturally before it had the disease. It’s combined with a drug called Zometa that decreases bone destruction.
Padmanabhan says bone scans on test patients revealed an encouraging find, an increase in bone density up to 6%.
There’s no evidence BHQ880 has any effect on the cancer itself, but by improving bone density, it may cut down on pain and reduce fractures, keeping people like Jemeyson active and out of a wheelchair.
“I’m a Christian. I’m not afraid to die,” Jemeyson shared. “But I want to live, you know?”
Multiple myeloma used to have a dismal survival rate of about three years. Recent strides have extended that outlook to ten years. CTRC doctors are hoping this drug will make those years good ones.
This isn’t really “new” news–just a well written article. Hope the concept works!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat