Aussie cancer center discovers new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia

Posted on by

MELBOURNE, June 14 (Xinhua) — A fresh breakthrough by a Melbourne cancer center could help patients, many of them babies, overcome acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, a leading Australian facility for cancer research and treatment, made the discovery after combining two drugs already being tested in patients with AML.

AML is a type of cancer which affects the blood and bone marrow. It is the most prevalent cause of disease death for infants, with around 100 of the 1,000 Australians diagnosed each year with AML being babies.

The disease kills almost half of all infants diagnosed with some type of AML, while only one in five adults are alive five years after diagnosis.

Led by Professor Mark Dawson, the Peter MacCallum team found that two proteins present in AML – BRD4 and DOT1L – somehow work alongside each other to progress the cancer.

Disrupting the two proteins so they could not communicate could create a way to conquer the cancer.

“We’ve never really known why this leukaemia, more than other subtypes of leukaemia, seem to respond so well to drugs that target these two proteins,” Dawson told News Corp on Tuesday.

“This research tells us exactly how these two proteins work in this type of leukaemia, and then it actually gives us insight into the fact they talk to each other, and by doing so they collaborate with each other to drive the leukaemia.”

This breakthrough is the first to be made in overcoming the disease since the 1970s.

Dawson’s research showed the importance of the separate clinical trials, which were already underway. The two drugs target each of the proteins and have shown individual promise in impacting but not overcoming leukemia.

One drug showing promise in reducing the BRD4 protein has been clinically trialled at Peter MacCallum, while another targeting DOT1L is being tested in patients in the United States.

“It is not going to change things in the next year … (but) we don’t have to develop new drugs, we have drugs for these two proteins, and we now know they are safe and tolerable,” Dawson said.

“We also know the drugs by themselves have some activity, but we have never been able to combine them before, so now we need to do that, so now we need to do that.”

Category: Journals
Comments are disabled