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Scientists Make Thalidomide Breakthrough

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    Scientists Make Thalidomide Breakthrough
    "So I have stayed as I am, without regret, seperated from the normal human condition." Guy Sajer

    Mike, this interesting although I wish that the article would stop dancing around the facts and explain the mechanism. It is misleading in its description of the drug mechanism. Once they do so, it would become apparent why the drug does what it does and why it is unlikely that they will find a form of drug that will stop the morning sickness without affecting limb bud development.

    Thalidomide is an antagonist of one of the most important pro-inflammatory cytokines of our body: tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). By the way, TNF-alpha is highly expressed in the injured spinal cord and is probably responsible for angiogenesis at the injury site, as well as other inflammatory responses. Because of this thalidomide has now been approved by the FDA again for other conditions, such as Hansen's disease and rheumatic arthritis [source][/source].

    There are many other antagonists of TNF-alpha besides thalidomide. For example, one can have antibodies that bind the cytokine or blockers of TNF-alpha receptors. Perhaps some of these may be able to achieve the effects of blocking TNF-alpha without blocking its angiogenesis activity. In any case, it is sad that this very important drug was prevented from being used for nearly 40 years because of one side effect of the drug that could have been prevented simply by not using it in pregnant women.