posted on Mar, 7 2005 @ 11:04 PM
The drug Thalidomide, which was used as an anti morning sickness medication in the fifties and sixties has been shown in recent studies on cancer
patients to slow body wastage or cathexia. Thalidomide, which is also being investigated in treatment of 100 other diseases including AIDS and
Tuberculosis, was tested on 50 patients terminally ill from pancreatic cancer, with patients using 200 miligrams of thalidomide daily showing weight
gain of .37 kg as opposed to the control group using the placebo's losing an average of 2.21 kg during the same time span.
The researchers say the drug appears to dampen down inflammation in the body, but how it does this is not yet known.
Writing in Gut, the team led by Dr John Gordon, said: "It remains to be seen whether these results can be generalised to all cancers and whether
attenuation of weight loss leads to prolonged survival.
"In the future, combination of the thalidomide with nutritional supplements and pharmacological agents may ultimately lead to a better clinical
outcome," they suggest.
In an editorial in the journal, Dr Michael Stroud, from Southampton's Institute of Human Nutrition, said: "This appears to show that this fairly
cheap oral agent, if kept away from opportunities for causing birth defects, does ameliorate the wasting process and, furthermore, that maintaining
better weight grants some benefit in terms of improved physical function."
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There was no difference in the death rate between the two groups taking part in the experiment and patients in the Thalidomide control group reported
mild side affects including skin irritations and constiptaion.
Thalidomide was taken off the open market in the sixties when it was linked to birth defects of children whose mothers took the medication while
pregnant. Limb deformities and missing limbs were two main dramatic consquences of taking the drug for morning sickness.
[edit on 7-3-2005 by Mayet]