New hope for Childhood Leukaemia? Research being done at UC San Francisco, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Oregon Health & Science University is very encouraging…
A new study of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a blood cancer that primarily affects young children, has revealed that the disease has two distinct subtypes, and provides preliminary evidence that about 13 percent of ALL cases may be successfully treated with targeted drugs that have proved highly effective in the treatment of lymphomas in adults.
Usually emerging in children between 2 and 5 years of age, ALL occurs when the proliferation of white blood cells known as lymphocytes spirals out of control. The current standard of care for ALL employs high doses of chemotherapy that usually cure the disease, but may also have serious long-term effects on brain development, bone growth and fertility, so there is an unmet need for better therapies.
In addition to discovering the two ALL subtypes, the researchers from UC San Francisco, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), developed a simple lab test that determines whether patients fall into the less-common subtype that may respond to targeted therapy. The team are already using this new test to recruit patients for a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the use of targeted drugs for ALL.