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Friday, September 27, 2013

Benda from behind a wall

East Germany ,
many youngsters would not have heard of this country nor would  they know much about the cold war period where the world was neatly divided into two one the soviet Chinese Communist bloc and the west dominated by the United states ,UK ,Japan and France .
This was an era of  ,double crosses and espionage where the CIA and the KGB played their deadly games .
Ian Fleming and his bonds were in real life too .
At the time to even think all this would end and the Soviet bloc would crumble and merge with the west was unthinkable .
but it was what happened in the eighties ,like a pack of cards the  communist countries saving China dismantled and embraced their sworn enemies .
East and West Germany were always separated by a wall in Berlin ,high with electric fences remote cameras and sharpshooting trigger happy soldiers . it was watched day and night and many died like flies as they attempted to jump from their dreary socialistic life into the capitalistic glamour across the wall
Erik honecker the East German communist party general secretary ruled with an iron hand and his country was a massive prison with starving workers leading a dreary life of rationed goods .
to think there were doctors and scientists in this atmosphere creating path breaking drugs was astounding .
but it did happen and this is what I am  going to write in this post   .
Of late Bendamustine is   making waves as an oncology drug with promise .

Even the very name reeks of history .
 when it came in the beginning after the Berlin war broke into smithereens in 1989 it was looked at with ridicule by the west which had a highly funded cancer Research programme going on for years .

In the west too it was trial and error that made new discoveries in cancer
it all began with the first world war where a chemical called nitrogen mustard was used and killed many and  on conducting autopsies of these bodies  a clever doctor found out that there was literally no lymphocytes or other white blood cells in these bodies so he guessed rightly that this could used for leukaemia's which was proliferation of these cells .

There are many more such stories behind the hi fi medical oncology therapeutics of today a multimillion dollar industry with monoclonal antibodies and targeted therapies holding the roost .

Bendamustine belongs to  the group of nitrogen mustard and is an alkylating agent

To make the story short FDA of USA the gold standard in drug acceptance has approved Bendamustine for lymphoma ,chronic lymphocytic leukaemia ,and research is going on for even some solid tumours like Breast cancer .

Suddenly Bendamustine is on every oncologists lips as they find that it is effective with minimal side effects compared to conventional drugs being used .

Thus a drug that hid itself behind a wall has been found out and is today being reborn .

it could rightly be called the bendamustine epic and so here is small ditty about Benda

Behind a wall


Behind the Berlin wall was East Germany

Where people were paid only in pennies

It was grey and dusky with concrete flats

And It was dull and old with faded mats


But there lived scientists who were brilliant

And In discovering drugs they were triumphant

They fought leukaemia’s and  lymphomas with a new drug

Called Bendamustine  which sounded more   like a rare  bug


And so the drug lay for years buried in the east

While glamorous RCHOP and RITUX  ruled the west

And then one day the Berlin wall was broken

That day onwards East Germany lay forsaken


The west looked at anything from the east with ridicule

And so they did with this too … this new molecule

Till  a clever doctor presented in lancet a landmark paper

Which showed that Bendamustine was  no clever caper


And thus ladies and gentlemen goes the Bendamustine epic

And how it was saved from  being  just a relic

it’s bound to becom a path breaking drug so tall

but remember how  it all began  just behind  a wall ……..


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