Thursday, 14 March 2013

Painkillers mobilize hematopoietic stem cells into the blood stream

A recent study on mice, baboons and a few volunteering patients revealed that a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called meloxicam increases significantly the number of hematopoietic stem cells entering the blood stream. The study can potentially help patients requiring a hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplant, most notably leukemia victims. The study was carried out by researchers, led by Louis Pelus, at Indiana University's School of Medicine

At present, doctors are using a drug called filgrastim to mobilise larger amounts of hematopoietic stem cells into the blood stream of patients that are about to undergo autologous HSC transplantation. The drug works by inhibiting the prostaglandin E2 lipid which has been previously found to regulate pain, fever, inflammation, and keep the HSCs in the bone marrow.However, not all patients respond well to the drug, especially the ones presenting with multiple myeloma (Kahler's disease) or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Prostaglandin E2

In this study, the researchers discovered that meloxicam, a common painkiller, can be combined with filgrastim to increase its effects in the patients that don't respond well to it. Meloxicam also has the advantage of coming with very few side effects.

The researchers now aim to conduct a clinical trial at Indiana University to confirm their results in a larger human sample. Hopefully, this won't take long as both drugs are already FDA approved for other uses.

Hoggatt, J., Mohammad, K., Singh, P., Hoggatt, A., Chitteti, B., Speth, J., Hu, P., Poteat, B., Stilger, K., Ferraro, F., Silberstein, L., Wong, F., Farag, S., Czader, M., Milne, G., Breyer, R., Serezani, C., Scadden, D., Guise, T., Srour, E., & Pelus, L. (2013). Differential stem- and progenitor-cell trafficking by prostaglandin E2 Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature11929

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