Saturday, June 25, 2022

‘Promising’ scientific discoveries could lead to new leukemia treatments

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Experts say a “promising” discovery could potentially lead to new treatments for leukemia.

The researchers hope the finding could pave the way for new treatment options for some of the most vulnerable leukemia patients – who are often told they cannot go through intensive treatments.

The team of experts led by Dr. William Gray and colleagues studied cellular responses to treatment after “inhibiting” a protein called CKS1.

Most drugs that target acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cause toxicity to blood stem cells called hematopoietic cells.

These treatments also fail to target leukemic stem cells, which can result in patient relapse.

To try to overcome these problems, Drs. Gray and colleagues state that by blocking the action of CKS1, leukemic stem cells can be successfully targeted without harming normal, healthy stem cells.

Leukemia UK said the finding will provide valuable insight into the development of new treatments.

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells and each year in the UK around 10,000 patients are diagnosed with leukemia, including 3,000 diagnosed with AML.

The charity said that despite a better understanding of the disease, the main therapies used to treat AML have remained unchanged for decades.

And there are many patients, particularly older patients, who are told they are ineligible for some of the most intensive treatments.

As a result, the prognosis for many older patients is poor, with only 5% of AML patients over age 65 surviving five years or more.

Leukemia UK said the new finding, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that reducing the side effects of traditional chemotherapy could make some of these patients eligible for treatment.

Fiona Hazell, Managing Director of Leukemia UK, said: “There is an urgent need to develop gentler and more effective treatments for acute leukaemias.

“By focusing on trying to improve outcomes for AML patients with the worst prognosis, research can help accelerate progress where it’s most needed to save and improve more lives.”

“The promising discovery of Dr. Gray demonstrates the importance of continued research and could offer a vital new treatment option for those most at risk of leukemia.”

dr Grey, who now works at the University of York, is now exploring possible clinical trial options.

“We hope that this work will open up new avenues for studying stem cell protein dynamics and give us a better understanding of how stem cells function in our bodies and how they go wrong during disease,” he said.

“By doing so, we hope to uncover new and more effective treatment targets that have remained undiscovered during the genetic revolution that has been ongoing over the past two decades.”

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