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Targeted therapies offer fresh hope for AML

Publish Date: 22/7/2016

The results of a clinical trial involving a new combination therapy of Venetoclax and chemotherapy are providing hope for Australians diagnosed with AML.

Clinical and translational AML researcher, Dr Andrew Wei and his teams at the Alfred Hospital and Monash University, are optimistic about the combination therapy, with between 60 and 70 percent of the trial participants overcoming their cancer to achieve complete remission, and the duration of remissions looking ‘extremely promising’.

A disease where little progress has been made on advancing treatments, especially for older people and those resistant to chemotherapy, Dr Wei has conducted clinical trials with the experimental drug Venetoclax, which has ‘flicked the switch’ on AML.

Dr Anna Williamson, the Foundation’s Head of Research and Advocacy, is excited by the progress being made by Dr Wei and his research teams.

“Any new therapies or combinations of therapy that improve outcomes for people with AML, are welcome and exciting news - especially for older people with AML,” said Dr Williamson.

Dr Wei is determined to increase the success rate for people diagnosed with AML through novel therapies, and he is working to ensure Australians with AML can access new treatments through clinical trials.

Generous community support of the Leukaemia Foundation’s National Research Program has provided Dr Wei with funding over the past 14 years enabling him to coordinate a number of investigator-initiated clinical trials and identify the role of novel and targeted therapies for AML.

Dr Wei is leading a national Australian clinical trial, examining the role of the FLT3 inhibitor sorafenib in combination with chemotherapy, randomised for untreated adults (aged 18-65) identified to have the FLT3-ITD mutation. This Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma Group (ALLG) study, underway at 23 hospitals around Australia, was initiated by a Leukaemia Foundation National Research Program grant, with further funding support from the NHMRC.

Answering the call for more clinical trials for people in need of better options, Dr Wei and his research team have also opened a number of clinical trials targeting IDH1 and IDH2 in collaboration with pharmaceutical industry, which are especially relevant for people with relapsed/refractory AML.

There are a number of centres across Australia running these studies and you can obtain more information on these clinical trials for AML at 03 9076 3451 (or via the ANZ clinical trials registry).

You can help Australia’s ground-breaking researchers, like Dr Andrew Wei, deliver new treatment options to people diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer by making a generous donation today.

Learn more about the Leukaemia Foundation’s National Research Program and how you can help us to improve treatments and find cures for people living with a blood cancer.



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