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New insight into how leukaemia works means we could soon have more effective treatment!

by , 21 January 2013

Leukaemia is one of the most aggressive cancers, which means it’s also one of the most difficult to cure. And as it affects the blood, it’s one of the most difficult forms of cancer to target. New research means doctors will soon be able to better understand the cancer, and hopefully come up with more effective treatment.

ScienceDaily reports that in studying the metabolism of acute myeloid leukaemia, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have found that the cells that drive the disease have a much slower metabolism than most other cancer tumour cells.
This slower metabolism protects leukaemia cells and helps them survive, even in conditions where other cancer cells would start to die off.  
Experimental drug being tested as treatment for aggressive cancers like leukaemia hoped to boost treatment during remission 
The scientists have found an experimental drug tailored to this unique metabolic status of leukaemia cells and begun testing its ability to attack the disease. 
The best part? The drug doesn’t affect the functioning of normal cells. 
Researchers now hope they can target the leukaemia during periods of remission, when mopping up residual leukaemia is essential.
The study's corresponding author, Craig T Jordan, PhD, says: “An exciting part of our work is that because we've identified drugs that are being developed for clinical use, we hope there is significant potential to improve the care of leukaemia patients relatively soon.”
Jordan is forming a partnership with a drug-maker to conduct further leukaemia cell testing.
The full report is available in the 17 January 2013 online edition of Cell Stem Cell.
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