MAR 18, 2020 7:13 PM PDT

Drug Could Effectively Treat a Lethal Blood Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A pricey drug, called tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), is used to continuously treat the blood cancer Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML).

The TKI treatment, if stopped, can cause the recurrence of CML. Even though most CML patients receive life-long TKI treatment—roughly 10 percent become resistant and progress to blast crisis (BC) CML. Once BC is reached, it is almost fatal and many factors that cause BC still remain unknown to clinicians.

"Our discovery is like finding the 'one ring that rules them all'. Since there are many cancer-causing genetic mutations that occur when chronic phase CML transforms to blast crisis, it has been very challenging to determine which ones are critical to BC, and therefore important to target. By discovering this 'one ring' and how to 'destroy' it with a novel drug combination, we open the door to treating this deadly cancer with the same combination of drugs regardless of the myriad mutations that exist in any particular patient. In addition, our study demonstrates the ability of scientists and clinicians to make exciting discoveries that can be translated to the improved health of patients all over the world, as well as Singaporeans," said Associate Professor Ong Sin Tiong from the Duke-NUS CSCB programme and corresponding author of this study.

Learn more about CML:

"As a haematologist treating patients with advanced blast crisis CML, it is disheartening when we run out of treatment options for them. And that is why we are very encouraged by the study findings and certainly hopeful that our patients may one day benefit from the efforts of our collaboration," Associate Professor Charles Chuah, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology, SGH.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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