Please login to the form below

Not currently logged in
Email:
Password:

Thalidomide research breakthrough

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have discovered why limb defects occur in babies born to mothers who have taken thalidomide

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland, have discovered why limb defects occur in babies born to mothers who have taken thalidomide.

Dr Neil Vargesson, who led the research, said: "We have put to rest a 50-year puzzle, in finally deducing how thalidomide triggers limb defects and why it appears to target limbs preferentially." The paper published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the drug prevents the growth of new blood vessels. 

In the 1950s thalidomide was prescribed to treat morning sickness and was taken during the stage of pregnancy when limbs are developed in the embryo. It is thought to have caused about 10,000 babies to be born with deformities. 

The drug has multiple actions, some of which are of great medical value - such as in the treatment of leprosy. Although the risks are now known, in South America and Africa some children with limb defects are born to mothers who have been treated with thalidomide.

The research reveals that only one component causes birth abnormalities and this could lead to new therapies that retain the benefits without the risk. Thalidomide can stop tumours growing larger and is used to treat some cancers. Further therapeutic indications could be investigated if the risks to the unborn child are eliminated.

12th May 2009

Share

Featured jobs

Subscribe to our email news alerts

PMHub

Add my company
SEVEN STONES

Seven Stones is a creative, independent healthcare communications agency of movers and thinkers. We've been doing health differently since 1991....

Latest intelligence

Products come and go, but a pharma company’s most valuable, durable asset is its reputation, writes Duncan Mackenzie-Reid and Simon Grist
...
Erik
A quest for innovative solutions
UCB looks to the future through a PRISM...
Big data, privacy and the rise of genomic testing
Blue Latitude Health speaks to Johan Christiaanse, Marketing Director at BGI, to find out how the medical profession can overcome one of the major barriers to precision medicine – big...

Infographics