Two drugs are better than one in fight against leukaemia

March 8, 2018, Freshscience
Dr Laura Eadie at work in the SAHMRI Leukaemia Research Laboratory. Credit: SAHMRI

Adelaide scientists have devised a way to enhance the effectiveness of a patient's leukaemia treatment by using a combination of drugs.

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a of the blood and, while current treatments are effective in the majority of , approximately 20 per cent of patients stop responding to the therapy and relapse.

"It is these high-risk patients for whom we need to develop better, and more personalised treatments," says Dr. Laura Eadie from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Laura looked at why some patients become resistant to treatment, and in a world-first, identified a protein on the of the cancer cells that pushes the leukemia drug molecules out of the cells.

This results in reduced concentrations of the drug inside the cells to kill the cancer.

"I proposed that by treating cancer cells with a leukaemia drug as well as a second drug that inhibits the cancer cell protein, the leukaemia drug would be more effective at killing the cancer," she says.

And this is exactly what she observed. When were treated with both drugs, the cancer was inhibited up to 56 per cent more effectively than when either drug was used alone, and that's good news for CML patients.

"We believe treating CML patients with this drug combination will give them the best chance of long-term survival," says Laura.

Importantly the second is already being to treat other diseases, which means its safety and possible side effects have already been studied.

Hopefully this will mean a quicker route from the lab to the clinic for this promising new therapy.

Explore further: Early detection of leukaemia patients' resistance to therapy

Related Stories

Early detection of leukaemia patients' resistance to therapy

July 28, 2016
Adelaide researchers have made a world-first breakthrough in the early detection of patients' resistance to a common treatment for chronic myeloid leukaemia, offering some hope that the patients' treatment could be changed ...

Some leukaemia patients may be missing out on new treatments

January 9, 2018
Patients with an aggressive form of leukaemia, currently ineligible for any type of targeted therapy, may in fact benefit from some of these new drugs, according to new research by Queen Mary University of London.

New hope of a treatment for aggressive T-PLL leukaemia

October 24, 2017
Until now, there has been no adequate treatment available for the rare and highly aggressive malignant blood disease T-PLL leukaemia. By screening blood samples from patients with haematological diseases, a team of doctors ...

Targeted antibiotic use may help cure chronic myeloid leukaemia

September 19, 2017
The antibiotic tigecycline, when used in combination with current treatment, may hold the key to eradicating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) cells, according to new research.

Drug hope for acute myeloid leukemia

August 8, 2017
A new drug that strips cancer cells of their "immortality" could help to treat patients suffering from one of the most aggressive forms of leukaemia.

New drug combination shows promise in tackling leukaemia treatment resistance

October 17, 2016
Early testing of a new drug combination that attacks the most common form of leukaemia on multiple fronts has shown great promise in targeting cancer cells.

Recommended for you

What can salad dressing tell us about cancer? Think oil and vinegar

September 20, 2018
Researchers led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified another way the process that causes oil to form droplets in water may contribute to solid tumors, such as prostate and breast cancer. The ...

Novel biomarker found in ovarian cancer patients can predict response to therapy

September 20, 2018
Despite months of aggressive treatment involving surgery and chemotherapy, about 85 percent of women with high-grade wide-spread ovarian cancer will have a recurrence of their disease. This leads to further treatment, but ...

Testing fluorescent tracers used to help surgeons determine edges of breast cancer tumors

September 20, 2018
A team of researchers with members from institutions in The Netherlands and China has conducted a test of fluorescent tracers meant to aid surgeons performing tumor removal in breast cancer patients. In their paper published ...

Cancer immunotherapy might benefit from previously overlooked immune players

September 20, 2018
Cancer immunotherapy—efforts to boost a patient's own immune system, allowing it to better fight cancer cells on its own—has shown great promise for some previously intractable cancers. Yet immunotherapy doesn't work ...

New way to target advanced breast cancers

September 20, 2018
A cytokine signature found in certain kinds of breast cancer cells can not only serve as a diagnostic tool for HER2-negative cancers but also offer an effective treatment target.

Understanding epilepsy in pediatric tumors

September 20, 2018
Pediatric brain tumors are characterized by frequent complications due to intractable epilepsy compared to adult brain tumors. However, the genetic cause of refractory epilepsy in pediatric brain cancer has not been elucidated ...

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.