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

New therapeutic opportunity for the treatment of resistant malignant melanoma

June 21, 2018
A team of researchers led by Dr. Pierre Close, WELBIO researcher at the ULiège GIGA Institute and Dr. Francesca Rapino has uncovered a new therapeutic opportunity in the treatment of malignant melanoma that has acquired ...

Novel therapy makes oxidative stress deadly to cancer

June 21, 2018
Oxidative stress can help tumors thrive, but one way novel cancer treatments work is by pushing levels to the point where it instead helps them die, scientists report.

Biologists discover how pancreatic tumors lead to weight loss

June 20, 2018
Patients with pancreatic cancer usually experience significant weight loss, which can begin very early in the disease. A new study from MIT and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute offers insight into how this happens, and suggests ...

Researchers find 11 genes responsible for the spread of cancer

June 20, 2018
A groundbreaking discovery by University of Alberta researchers has identified previously-unknown therapeutic targets that could be key to preventing the spread of cancer.

'Kiss of death' cancer: How computational geeks may have uncovered a therapy for a deadly disease

June 19, 2018
It's called the 'kiss of death'. Triple negative breast cancer has no targeted drug therapy and, as such, the only hope for these patients is chemotherapy. Triple negative breast cancer is aggressive and deadly. Patients ...

Ovarian cancer cells switched off by 'unusual' mechanism

June 19, 2018
Scientists at the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre at Imperial College London have discovered a mechanism that deactivates ovarian cancer cells.

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.