DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Editorial use only.
Aranesp anaemia drug being administered to a 70 year old male cancer patient. The syringe contains the anaemia drug darbepoetin alfa, which is marketed as Aranesp. The drug is a synthetic protein that stimulates the production of red blood cells (erythrocytes). It is used to treat anaemias (deficiencies in red blood cells) caused by chronic renal failure or, as in this case, chemotherapy treatment. An increase in red blood cells can cause thickening of the blood and increase the likelihood of several conditions, including high blood pressure, blood clots and heart attack. Aranesp is also used illegally in sport to increase an athlete's blood oxygen levels and therefore enhance performance.
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