Tags: Cancer | leukemia | treatment | advance | breakthrough | remission

New Treatment Puts Deadly Leukemia Into Remission

By    |   Thursday, 25 June 2015 04:12 PM

A team of American cancer specialists has developed an experimental new treatment for a rare, deadly leukemia that puts the disease into remission even in patients for whom the standard therapy has failed.

The treatment, devised by the University of Virginia Cancer Center, could buy patients more time for stem cell transplants that could save their lives.

"It was unbelievable, really, seeing a patient who had already failed Campath [the drug typically used to treat the disease] literally going back into remission," said Thomas P. Loughran Jr., M.D., director of the University of Virginia Cancer Center and one of the leaders of the study. "We were able to get every single patient back into remission."

The new approach targets T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia and combines immunotherapy — which boosts the body's immune system — with a genetic therapy.

The cutting-edge combination holds great promise not just for treating leukemia but, possibly, many other cancers as well, said Loughran.

"There's been a revolution in the last few years seeing success with immunotherapy, and people speculated that perhaps if you combined epigenetic and immunotherapy, that might be even more spectacular," he added. "This is proof of principle that this might be true."

The pilot study involved at eight patients with leukemia, all of whom went into remission after receiving the treatment. And it worked repeatedly — patients could be re-treated and receive the same benefit, providing vital time as they looked for a suitable bone marrow/stem cell donor.

The drugs used in the treatment are already commercially available, meaning doctors could administer the treatment without further testing.

The study results were published online by the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Cancer
American cancer specialists have developed an experimental new treatment for a rare, deadly leukemia that puts the disease into remission even in patients for whom the standard therapy has failed.
leukemia, treatment, advance, breakthrough, remission
274
2015-12-25
Thursday, 25 June 2015 04:12 PM
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