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Understanding AML Treatment Phases

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Published on February 19, 2020

Key Takeaways

  • There are two main phases of treating AML: induction and consolidation.
  • Induction therapy is the first treatment given that tries to eliminate the bulk of the disease.
  • Consolidation therapy is used to target cancer cells that may be left in the body with the goal of curing the patient.

Expert Dr. Pinkal Desai, from the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, gives an overview of the two phases of acute myeloid leukemia treatment known as induction and consolidation therapy. Watch to learn more about treatment strategies and sequencing novel agents for 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 | Understanding AML Treatment Phases

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:                      
Dr. Desai, I don’t want to get too technical here, but the idea is can there be treatment that can do the heavy lifting, and particularly what’s in trials now, might there be newer agents that can help you long-term? Is that the idea?

Dr. Desai:   
 
Yes. So, when we do AML treatment, there are two phases that we call induction and consolidation. The induction part of the treatment is what you were referring to as the heavy lifter. The idea is either chemotherapy, or combinations of targeted therapy with hypomethylating agents, or combinations of targeted therapy, you try to reduce the bulk of the disease and put the patient into a remission, which does not mean that the patient is cured or that we’ve eliminated the last possible cell. The idea is to just reduce the bulk of the disease.

And then, what happens after is what we term as consolidation, and now, maintenance, where we do what I colloquially refer to as the cleanup crew. You come in, and whatever’s left behind has to be wiped out, and the amount of wiping has to be monitored, and now, with these newer agents and an ability with the complicated technologies and testing to actually find these small amounts of clones or leukemia cells, we have at our disposal agents that would help with this cleanup process. And if we can eliminate all of these leukemia stem cells, then that would be the goal to do so that the patient can be cured.

Even for somebody who’s proceeding to transplant, which, like Dr. Kadia mentioned, is the first immunotherapy—transplant is an immunotherapy to some extent; you’re getting donor immune cells to do the job—it only works when you have eliminated the disease to a very small amount so that some of these other agents would help clean whatever’s left behind, and we have more and more drugs to be able to do that.

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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