Building on years of previous research, the researchers found that thalidomide acts by promoting the degradation of an unexpectedly wide range of transcription factors – cell proteins that help switch genes on or off – including one called SALL4. The result is the complete removal of SALL4 from cells.

Thalidomide can: help the immune system attack and destroy cancer cells (immune system modulator) kill or stop the growth of cancer cells (cancer growth inhibitor) block the development of new blood vessels which cancer cells need to grow and spread

Reports indicate that a single 50 mg tablet of thalidomide during the time‐sensitive window is sufficient to cause birth defects in up to 50% of pregnancies.

Due to thalidomide’s effects on fetuses, both nationally and abroad, the US Congress passed the 1962 Kefauver-Harris Amendments to the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act