Breakthrough announced in treatment of patient with rare type of leukaemia

Posted by ap507 at Jan 15, 2014 10:05 PM |
Researchers deploy ‘precision medicine’ to successfully target advanced form of leukaemia with skin cancer drug
Breakthrough announced in treatment of patient with rare type of leukaemia

L to R: Jesvin Samuel, Dr Salvador Macip and Professor Martin Dyer

A team of University scientists has demonstrated a novel treatment for Hairy Cell Leukaemia (HCL), a rare type of blood cancer, using a drug administered to combat skin cancer.

The research, which is published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicates Vemurafenib, a BRAF inhibitor that has been approved as a treatment for advanced melanomas, is also successful in treating leukaemia.

The study, which was led by Dr Salvador Macip from the Department of Biochemistry, Professor Martin Dyer from the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine and PhD student Jesvin Samuel, shows that the treatment, which can be taken orally, cleared the malignant cells from the patient’s blood and led to a complete clinical recovery in a number of days.

This approach to targeting cancer is an example of precision medicine with clinicians and research scientists working side-by-side to ensure that the best treatment, tailored to the individual patient, was provided. The treatment of the patient took place at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

This research shows that drugs currently used to target certain cancers could be applied in other malignancies that share similar genetic backgrounds.

Listen to a podcast with Dr Salvador Macip explaining the research below: