UCI Health clinical trial targets recurrent AML
July 15, 2020
The UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer has launched a first-in-the-nation clinical trial combining two recently approved drugs to prevent recurrence of adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in patients with myelodysplastic changes or therapy-related AML.
The investigator-initiated clinical trail led by oncologist Dr. Deepa Jeyakumar is adding the stem-cell drug glasdegib, which comes in pill form, to a chemotherapy regimen called Vyxeos (daunorubicin and cytarabine). Vyxeos has shown improved overall survival and response rates in older patients.
By adding glasdegib, Jeyakumar is hoping for better, longer last results. Glasdegib, currently given to patients who aren’t healthy enough to undergo chemotherapy, targets what is known as the hedgehog pathway, and signals leukemia cells to die. Both drugs are approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
The Phase 2 clinical trial is studying patients whose AML evolved from a prior blood problem or from previous treatments, such as chemotherapy.
“As a leukemia doctor, I’ve had many patients who have trouble getting to remission or staying long enough in remission to go forward to a bone-marrow transplant,” said Jeyakumar, assistant professor in the UCI School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology.
“We recently got approval to use both of these agents. Together, they could be a more effective therapy to whack down leukemia and wipe out any leukemia stem cells in the bone marrow.”
AML, a cancer of the bone marrow and blood, is the most common leukemia in adults and its incidence increases with age. It may occur in people with preexisting blood disorders and after chemotherapy for treatment of other cancers.
The two-year trial, which is currently enrolling patients, is expected to expand to the four additional cancer centers in the University of California’s Cancer Consortium in coming months.
“This study is a really exciting opportunity to change the landscape of a very difficult-to-treat disease,” Jeyakumar said.
The Phase 2 trial is now enrolling patients. For more information, contact Jeyakumar at firstname.lastname@example.org
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