27 Mar 2019

New treatment of acute myeloid leukemia achieves remarkable results in a disease formerly with little hope

A/Prof Andrew Wei

The prognosis for older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is poor: very few achieve remission and for those that don’t the option is largely palliative. Every year almost 1,000 Australians die of the disease and clinical trials into new therapies for older patients have largely failed.

A new drug trial has achieved a remarkable result, clearing the bone marrow of leukaemia in almost 60% of patients. The trial was considered so effective that the US Food and Drug Administration approved its use last November for the treatment of AML.

Associate Professor Andrew Wei, from the Alfred Hospital and Central Clinical School's Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, commenced research in this area almost two decades ago. He is now the lead clinician/researcher on the international trial of the cancer drug, currently combined with cytarabine to treat older adults with AML.

Kaye Oliver, 74, was the first patient in the world enrolled on this trial at the Alfred Hospital in 2015 – the results of which are now published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Given little hope of survival beyond a few months at diagnosis, Kaye remains well and without evidence of the cancer four years later.

Read more here.

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