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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
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Minerva Pediatrica 2003 October;55(5):483-98

language: English, Italian

New drugs for childhood anemia

La Spina M., Russo G.


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New drugs, recently available for treatment of different forms of anaemia, have somehow changed the therapeutic scenario in paediatric haematology. The aim of this review is to focus on the newest molecules discussing indications, clinical usefulness and related problems. Erythropoietin, the specific growth factor of red cell precursors, is now an established option for anaemia of chronic renal failure, prematurity, bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy. Anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, a novel cytotoxic molecule for mature B lymphocytes, has proven to be effective in the treatment of refractory autoimmune cytopenias. Haemoglobin analogues are currently under investigation, in order to obtain a synthetic oxygen-carrier that can substitute blood transfusions. Finally drugs that are able to increase the production of haemoglobin F have been used in thalassemias and haemoglobinopathies. For patients with sickle cell disease, hydroxyurea is no longer an experimental tool; it has given rise to several trials, where it has proven to be effective in terms of both clinical and haematological improvement.

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