Thaliomide, the sedative drug taken by mothers to reduce morning sickness, half a century ago, which resulted in high risk of birth defects, treats a rare inherited blood disorder, according to recently reported lab experiments.

The disorder called hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), causes frequent, difficult-to-treat nosebleed, and it affects around one person in 10,000.

Thalidomide was found to reduce the risk of haemorrhage and stabilized blood vessels in mice genetically engineered to have HHT, according to French doctors.

The drug functions by boosting a protein called PDGF-B, according to the report by the team of National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), published in the journal Natural Medicine.

The experimental study aims to show pathways by which HHT can be cured.

Sold in between 1957 and 1961, thalidomide taken by pregnant women for morning sickness, had increased risk of having a child with stunted arm or missing limb.

More than 10,000 babies particularly in Germany, Britain, Australia and Canada were affected.

The tragic birth defect scandal triggered strict vetting procedures for drug prototypes and scrutiny of claims by pharmaceutical companies.

The controversial drug remains illegal for general distribution.

Just recently, the drug has been used as a part of research, and treatment for a type of cancer called multiple myeloma, and side-effects of leprosy.

It is only prescribed to patients in extremely tightly-controlled conditions.