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New Drug For Acute Myeloid Leukemia Found


Acute Myeloid Leukemia

According to a study published in Cancer Cell, researchers from the United Kingdom have discovered a new drug for the treatment of an aggressive form of myeloid leukemia. Acute myeloid leukemia is a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, which is characterized by abnormal growth of white blood cells. This increase causes aberrant accumulation of white blood cells in bone marrow, which interfere with normal blood cell production. Myeloid leukemia causes anemia, decreased platelets (thrombocytopenia) and normal white blood cells (neutrophilic).

Symptoms AML installation are fatigue, dyspnea, bleeding, bruising and increased risk of infection. In terms of causes, they are not clearly defined, but there have been questioned different risk factors such as exposure to certain environmental factors (benzene, radiation), to certain drugs (doxorobicina, cyclophosphamide), chromosomal abnormalities, various rare syndromes (Fanconi anemia, Down syndrome , Bloom syndrome, neurofibromatosis). However, most patients do not have known risk factors. Untreated, acute myeloid leukemia leads to death within weeks or months.


Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Researchers at the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research at The University of Manchester have found that by blocking an enzyme is inhibited the production of proteins that causes an aggressive type of leukemia, called mixed lineage  leukaemia (MLL). The researchers created synthetic molecules block LSD1 , the enzyme involved in modulating gene activity that causes cancer. Moreover, the lead study author Dr Tim Somervaille, group leader at Cancer Research UK’s Leukaemia Biology Laboratory, said that the experiments on both patients and mice showed promising results.

The National Cancer Institute  divided treatment for leukemia  into two categories, namely remission induction and consolidation therapy. The first is to remove all visible leukemia cells while the second refers to destroying the remaining  cells and relapse prevention. Until now, treatment options were very limited, ie chemotherapy or radiotherapy or bone marrow transplant. Important to remember that in  the last option, that is bone marrow transplant,  the patient still has to follow chemotherapy and then receive stem cells from a donor.

Acute leukemia is a curable disease, but prognosis depends on various factors. The average survival at 5 years is about 25%. In terms of survival rates, the younger had better survival rates than older adults. Dr Somervaille pointed out the importance of developing new drugs to treat leukemia. Many patients cannot be treated with chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Thus, using drugs that block LSD1 is a new hope for such patients.Also, Dr Somervaille believes that this new therapeutic target  may be useful in treating other cancers, but more studies must be done in this respect.