Major Leukemia SA Scientists Advance

Scientists in South Australia have made great strides in overcoming drug resistance in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare blood cancer that kills most patients within a few years.

Researchers at the University of South Australia and the Center for Cancer Biology at SA Pathology have found ways to suppress certain proteins that promote resistance to drugs commonly used to treat AML patients.

One of the lead authors, Stuart Pittson, said the findings could revolutionize the treatment of AML, a disease that recently killed SA football great Russell Ebert and professional golfer Jarrod Lyle. Said.

“Approximately 900 people are diagnosed with AML each year in Australia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that is characterized by an overproduction of cancerous white blood cells called leukemic blasts,” said Professor Pittson.

“These cells swarm normal white blood cells and are unable to do the job of fighting normal infections, thereby increasing the risk of infection, hypoxia levels, and bleeding.”

David Ross, a hematologist in SA pathology, said that many AML patients first responded to venetoclax.

Using a large biobank of AML biopsy provided by patients and a world-leading advanced preclinical model, researchers have found that proteins that promote drug resistance by regulating lipid metabolism in the body. A cell that has demonstrated that a protein called Mcl-1 is inhibited by AML.

“This process makes AML cells very sensitive to venetoclax, but normal white blood cells are unaffected,” said SA pathologist Jason Powell.

The team is currently working on optimizing drugs that target this pathway in order to participate in clinical trials of AML patients.

Professor Ross said that for most people with AML, the chances of long-term survival are now worse than they were in the last century.

“Now we have a chance to improve it,” he said.

“New treatments that prevent venetoclax resistance may prolong survival and increase the chances of cure for diseases in which improved outcomes are urgently needed.”

The SA study was published in the Hematology Journal Blood.

Major Leukemia SA Scientists Advance

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