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Genetic Research Leads to Progress in Survival Statistics

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Published on February 13, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • With new therapies, doctors are currently able to cure 90 percent of patients with APL, a type of AML.  

Acute myeloid leukemia expert Dr. Tapan Kadia, from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, shares an optimistic view on defining a cure for the blood cancer with a deeper understanding of disease biology. Watch as Dr. Kadia also gives updates on improving survival statistics for specific versions of AML.

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank Astellas, Celgene Corporation, Daiichi Sankyo and Jazz Pharmaceuticals for their support. These organizations have no editorial control. Patient Power is solely responsible for program content.

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Transcript | Genetic Research Leads to Progress in Survival Statistics

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:                      

Can any of this progress lead to a cure? For instance, if you study up on leukemia, you know that many of the little kids who are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with regimens that were developed can, in fact, be cured. Well, what about with AML? Where are we with that?

 Dr. Kadia:                    

Great question. I do this because I’m passionate about it. I think that I am very optimistic that we will define a cure for acute myeloid leukemia. I think the key lies in understanding better the biology of the disease. I can give you some examples. There’s a type of leukemia—a type of AML, in fact—called APL, where we used to have significant mortality, a very morbid disease. Young people died bleeding all over with this particular disease.

Now, because we learned about the use of ATRA [tretinoin (Vesanoid)], and arsenic, and the gene rearrangement in APL, we’re able to cure 90 percent plus of these patients with APL. Then, we have carbide fracture leukemia, those with translocation of 8;21 or inversion 16. With the appropriate therapy, which is intensive chemotherapy and one of the new agents called gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg), we’re now able to cure 50 to 60 percent of these patients. Five years out, long-term survivors with that particular AML.

So, I think the more and more we learn about the biology of the disease and incorporate specific therapy with known therapy with these diseases, and potentially incorporating in the future immunotherapy to try and clean up whatever residual disease is behind, I think that we are on a track that we will be able to cure this disease.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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