Saturday, March 19, 2016

New drug shows promise for drug resistant leukemia

A scanning electron 
microscope image 
from normal circulating 
human blood. – Wikipedia
CANCER DIGEST – March 19, 2016 – Researchers have developed a compound that shows promise for extending survival in patients with a drug-resistant form of leukemia.

Adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that usually gets worse quickly if it is not treated. It has a poor prognosis, with survival rates between 60 percent and 70 percent in children and less than 50 percent in adults.

In preclinical testing, the new compound has shown a doubling of average survival days in laboratory models of drug-resistant forms of the disease. The researchers say the findings, published March 17 in the journal JCI Insight, could pave the way for human clinical trials.

In tests using multiple preclinical models, researchers demonstrated that the compound, called MRX-2843, blocked the growth of acute myeloid leukemia cells, and led to a significant level of cancer cell death. They also determined that giving the compound orally once a day to mice with human AML tissue increased the mice's survival two to three times.

"Our data indicate that this could be a superior drug for certain resistant forms of acute myeloid leukemia; however, it has to be tested in clinical trials," Shelton Earp, MD, director of UNC Cancer Care and Lineberger said in a press release. "We know that leukemia can develop resistance to drugs similar to ours. The questions is: Would this new UNC inhibitor give patients with resistant acute myeloid leukemia longer survival? This is a particularly salient question for older AML patients who can't tolerate high doses of chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant."

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