Physiological properties and characteristic reactions of hydroxyurea
As it was mentioned in the previous paper, we observed the mechanism of action the interesting drug, first synthesized back in 1869 for the first time, called Hydroxyurea. A century later, phase I and II trials began to test its safety in humans with solid tumors. It was first approved by the FDA in 1967 for the treatment of neoplastic diseases and is presently approved for the treatment of melanoma, resistant chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML), and recurrent, metastatic testicular and ovarian cancer. Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder that decreases life expectancy by 25 to 30 years. Individuals are diagnosed with sickle cell disease if they have one of several genotypes that result in at least half of their hemoglobin being hemoglobin S (HbS). Sickle cell anemia refers specifically to the condition associated with homozygosity for the Hb S mutation (Hb SS). Several other hemoglobin mutations, when occurring with an Hb S mutation, cause a similar but often milder disease than sickle cell anemia. In addition to reduced life expectancy, patients with sickle cell disease experience chronic pain and reduced quality of life. Painful crises, also known as vaso-occlusive crises, are the most common reason for emergency department use and hospitalization, and acute chest syndrome is the most common cause of death. Prior to the approval of hydroxyurea for use in sickle cell disease, patients with this condition were treated only with supportive therapies. These measures included penicillin in children to prevent pneumococcal disease, routine immunizations, and hydration and narcotic therapy to treat painful events. Red blood cell transfusions increase the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity and decrease the concentration of cells with abnormal hemoglobin, but chronic transfusion therapy predictably leads to iron overload and alloimmunization. Therapies such as hydroxyurea that raise fetal hemoglobin (Hb F, α2γ2) levels are promising because they effectively lower the concentration of Hb S within a cell, resulting in less polymerization of the abnormal hemoglobin.Hydroxyurea’s efficacy in sickle cell disease is generally attributed to its ability to raise the levels of Hb F in the blood; however, the mechanisms by which it does so are unclear. Early studies suggested that hydroxyurea is cytotoxic to the more rapidly dividing late erythroid precursors, resulting in the recruitment of early erythroid precursors with an increased capacity to produce HbF.
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