Studies highlight new drug targets or compounds for acute myeloid leukemia

December 07, 2015

ORLANDO, FL (Dec. 7, 2015) - Preclinical data unveiled across four studies presented at the 57th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology highlight four potential treatment opportunities for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a blood cancer accounting for approximately 20 percent of all childhood leukemias and 32 percent of adult leukemias. The four studies, led by investigators from Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, represent significant progress in seeking out and targeting multiple vulnerabilities within AML cells, including aspects of the cells' metabolism, internal communications and ability to transport proteins between different compartments.

The overall survival rate for pediatric AML is between 60 and 70 percent -- above 80 percent for some specific subtypes. For adult AML, the numbers are far worse; overall survival is 45 percent, and goes down dramatically with age. Both pediatric and adult AML frequently relapse, generally in a treatment-resistant form. Thus, there is a significant need for treatment options that can improve the survival rate and can effectively treat patients with relapses when they do occur.

"When you look at overall survival and how we treat most patients with AML, things have changed remarkably little in the last 20 years," said Kimberly Stegmaier, MD, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's and senior investigator on three of the four studies. "We still use older chemotherapy drugs in both adults and children that are very toxic, and we have quite a way to go to cure all patients with this disease.

"In the last few years, target and molecule discovery have really accelerated," Stegmaier continued, "which for continued progress in treating patients with AML is essential. "To make headway against those forms of AML resistant to current therapy, we will need treatments that are fundamentally different from those in our current armamentarium."

The four Dana-Farber/Boston Children's AML studies, each of which focuses on a different aspect of AML biology, are:

The targets and molecules being presented represent just a few of the opportunities created by the last decade's efforts to tease apart the complicated genomics of cancer in general, and AML in particular.

"AML led the genomic sequencing revolution in cancer. The first cancer genome sequenced was from a patient with AML," Stegmaier explained. "We have learned a great deal since then. There are a number of new treatment approaches being tested in the clinic that are very exciting. These abstracts reflect just a few of the emerging targets of great interest."
-end-
About Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center

The Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center -- the nation's #1 pediatric cancer program, according to US News & World Report 2015-16 -- brings together two internationally known research and teaching institutions that have provided comprehensive care for pediatric oncology and hematology patients since 1947. The Harvard Medical School affiliates share a clinical staff that delivers inpatient care and surgery at Boston Children's Hospital, outpatient oncology care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and outpatient blood disorders care at Boston Children's.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.