What`s new in chronic myeloid leukemia research?
Many studies of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are being done in labs and in clinical trials around the world.
Genetics of CML
Scientists are making progress in learning how changes in a person's DNA can cause normal bone marrow cells to change into leukemia. They are learning why these cancer cells grow too fast, live too long, and don't grow into normal blood cells. In recent years they have learned a lot about why cancer cells don't die off like normal cells. This information is being used to develop many new drugs.
Sorting out the targeted drugs
Imatinib (Gleevec) has now been in use for years and has been shown to work very well, but studies have shown that dasatinib and nilotinib seem to work at least as well for patients who are just starting treatment. Other drugs are also being tested as the first treatment..
Combining the targeted drugs with other treatments
Imatinib or other similar drugs used alone don't help everyone. Studies are now being done to see if combining these drugs with other treatments like chemo, interferon, or cancer vaccines (see below) might work better than anyone treatment alone. Studies are also looking at whether targeted drugs might be used in stem cell transplants.
Because leukemia cells are a kind of foreign cell, it is possible to get the body to take action against them. Researchers are looking at ways to do this with cancer vaccines – a substance injected into the body that boosts the immune system and causes it to attack certain cells. Some vaccines are now being studied for use against CML. More research into how to make and use vaccines is being done, too.
Last Medical Review: 08/13/2013
Last Revised: 02/10/2014