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Concept

Erythropoietin (Epo), mainly produced by the adult kidney, is the major hormone that promotes erythropoiesis. As such,  clinical  introduction  of  the  recombinant  form  of  the  hormone  (rHuEpo)  and  its  derivatives  (Epoetins) has been  a  breakthrough  in  treating  patients  with  end-stage  kidney  disease  suffering  from  anaemia,  and  cancer patients  facing  a  chemotherapy-associated  anemia. Despite the vast success in treating anemia with Epoetins, concerns have been raised regarding  the  safety  of  this  therapy. Thus, some studies showed that rHuEpo therapy may be harmful to some groups of cancer patients by having a direct or indirect growth promoting action on the cancer cells and worsening the prognosis of Epoetin treated cancer patients. Additionally, previous studies in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients have shown that both high levels of haemoglobin  and  high  doses  of  Epoetin  are  associated  with  an  increased  risk  of  cardiovascular  (CV)  and thrombotic events and mortality in these patients. In  contrast  to  these  'red  flags'  mentioned  above,  Epo  was  found  by  numerous  studies  to  have  beneficial neuroprotective,  cardio-protective  and  immune-mediated  anti-cancer  effects  in multiple myeloma patients. Therefore, it is imperative to be aware-of and to consider risk benefit ratio of Epoetin treatment in the clinical setup. EpoCan project is designed  to address safety  concerns related with Epo treatment and identify relevant parameters that will allow better patient selection for Epoetin therapy.

 

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