Azacitidine

Brand Names

Vidaza, Ladakamycin

How is Azacitidine Administered?

Azacitidine comes as a powder to be mixed with water and injected subcutaneously (under the skin) or intravenously (into a vein) by a doctor or nurse.

What is Azacitidine Used For?

This medication is used to treat myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS - a group of conditions in which the bone marrow produces blood cells that are misshapen and does not produce enough healthy blood cells) and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML).

How Does it Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control.    Both normal and cancer cells go through cycles that include a resting phase, active growing phases, and division. Your chemotherapy schedule is based upon the type of cancer you have, the rate at which they divide, and the times when each drug is the most likely to be effective. This is why chemotherapy is typically given in cycles.

Azacitidine is a member of a new class of drugs known as DNA "demethylating" agents, as well as an antimetabolite, so it is believed to fight cancer two ways. Through demthylating, it restores control over cell growth by allowing your suppressor genes to regulate cell growth and reproduction. (Methylation blocks the suppressor genes and allows the cancer cells to grow and reproduce without any regulation.)

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