(WASHINGTON, June 15, 2018) — Austrian researchers have discovered that a small number of patients taking targeted drugs known as Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors to treat myelofibrosis may develop aggressive lymphomas.
They also speculate that screening for a preexisting B-cell clone before starting therapy may help prevent this side effect and potentially save lives, according to a study published online today in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).
One of three disorders that falls under the umbrella of myeloproliferative neoplasms is myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow cancer in which too many blood cells are produced, leading to scarring and hardening inside the bone marrow. The exact cause of myelofibrosis is not known, but it has been linked to the JAK2 gene, which control the production of blood cells. Doctors treat the condition with medications designed to target or inhibit the action of this gene when it is faulty.
Though not a cure, JAK inhibitors are very effective at providing symptom relief, said study coauthor Heinz Gisslinger, MD, of the Medical University of Vienna in Austria. “However, we started noticing sporadic cases of lymphomas developing in patients being treated for myeloproliferative neoplasms and wanted to know
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