The race against chronic myeloid leukemia not yet won

January 23, 2012, Canadian Medical Association Journal

Although significant progress has been made in treating chronic myeloid leukemia, the disease cannot yet be eliminated in all patients, and that challenge must be addressed, states a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Likening the journey to find a cure for chronic myeloid leukemia as a marathon, cancer expert Dr. Jorge Cortes, University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, writes, "The past half century has been an extraordinary run that has us on an excellent pace to not only complete the race to a cure, but to do so in record time."

Developments in treatments have been significant, with a five-year survival rate of 90% today compared with a median survival rate of three to five years in the 1960s.

"Despite this progress, many challenges remain that merit a concerted effort from researchers, , regulatory authorities, third party payers and the patients themselves," writes Dr. Cortes. "Our goal should be to eliminate the disease in all patients."

The use of the drug imatinib has been a key weapon in the arsenal against the disease, although only 60% of patients have a decent outcome; people can be resistant to the drug or develop resistance. Other second-line drugs work in about 50% of the patients in whom is not effective, but at least 10%-15% of them will lose their response to the treatment over time.

Dr. Cortes states that doctors need to ensure adherence to treatments, that more research into other therapies is still necessary and that must stay focused on the long term.

"Until all patients with can have an optimal quality of life while fighting this disease, our marathon is not over," concludes Dr. Cortes.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Stem cell vaccine immunizes lab mice against multiple cancers

February 15, 2018
Stanford University researchers report that injecting mice with inactivated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) launched a strong immune response against breast, lung, and skin cancers. The vaccine also prevented relapses ...

Induced pluripotent stem cells could serve as cancer vaccine, researchers say

February 15, 2018
Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are a keystone of regenerative medicine. Outside the body, they can be coaxed to become many different types of cells and tissues that can help repair damage due to trauma or ...

Team paves the way to the use of immunotherapy to treat aggressive colon tumors

February 15, 2018
In a short space of time, immunotherapy against cancer cells has become a powerful approach to treat cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer. However, to date, most colon tumours appeared to be unresponsive to this kind ...

Can our genes help predict how women respond to ovarian cancer treatment?

February 15, 2018
Research has identified gene variants that play a significant role in how women with ovarian cancer process chemotherapy.

First comparison of common breast cancer tests finds varied accuracy of predictions

February 15, 2018
Commercially-available prognostic breast cancer tests show significant variation in their abilities to predict disease recurrence, according to a study led by Queen Mary University of London of nearly 800 postmenopausal women.

Catching up to brain cancer: Researchers develop accurate model of how aggressive cancer cells move and spread

February 15, 2018
A brief chat at a Faculty Senate meeting put two University of Delaware researchers onto an idea that could be of great value to cancer researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.