Melbourne's medical scientists invent novel approach worldwide to cure leukemia

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-11-22 15:36:21

Australian medical scientists have discovered a new approach which is regarded as the landmark to kill blood cancer cells for treating a large number of aggressive adult and childhood leukemia, Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre said via the Friday's media release.

The report of this ground-breaking technique has been published in the prestigious medical journal Cell Reports to introduce a double-barreled approach which will lead to long-term survival for those suffering from the blood cancer.

According to the findings, a mutant enzyme called JAK2 drives and feeds a virulent form of the cancer that has proved resistant to therapy.

"Not only do they grow very quickly and the tumors spread more rapidly but they're often refractory to standard chemotherapies up front. These are things that are very difficult to treat because of how quickly they spread but, in addition, they cannot be treated by the common chemotherapy," local media ABC News quoted professor Ricky Johnstone, Assistant Director of Research at the Peter MacCallum Centre, as saying.

The research team combined an existing blood cancer treatment with a novel drug to attack the cancer-causing activity of the JAK2 protein in two places, and found that cancer cells could not survive this precise, double-barrel hit, the media release said.

The dual-pronged attack technique explains why the approach could inhibit both JAK2 and the survival molecules using a combination of drugs. It has already proved how successful to overwhelm the survival capacity of these cancer cells through the mice experiments.

"One of the drugs we used in our work is already approved for the treatment of adults with other cancers, while the second is in clinical development, so we hope our combination regimen could be available for patients with JAK2-driven leukemia in a matter of years," said first author of the journal Dr. Michaela Waibel.

And researchers hope the treatment will be available for the clinical use within one year.

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