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Breast Cancer Drug May Also Work Against a Form of Leukemia

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is caused by the fast growth of abnormal cells that build up in the blood and bone marrow, interfering with normal blood cells. The American Cancer Society reports AML to be uncommon before the age of 45. Patients with acute myeloid leukemia are treated with chemotherapy but this gives rise to [...]

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is caused by the fast growth of abnormal cells that build up in the blood and bone marrow, interfering with normal blood cells. The American Cancer Society reports AML to be uncommon before the age of 45. Patients with acute myeloid leukemia are treated with chemotherapy but this gives rise to many side effects like hair loss and irreversible heart damage. Recently, a new drug palbociclib has been formulated to treat advanced breast cancer. Researchers at Newcastle University in London have found another remarkable anti-cancerous effect of this drug against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with no side effects at all. The drug, palbociclib is being manufactured by Pfizer under the brand name Ibrance.

The study leader, Dr. Olaf Heidenreich stated that this treatment is less toxic and highly effective for AML patients. The quality of life of the patients is not severely impaired through this treatment. The annual death rate for AML is greater than 10,000 and five-year survival rate for AML is 27.4% according to the data collected between 2008 and 2014 according to a survey by the National Cancer Institute.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a tablet form of palbociclib in 2017 for breast cancer in terminally ill patients. Palbociclib prevents key molecules of cell cycle progression and inhibits tumors this way. Scientists at the University of Birmingham and Newcastle identified two vital molecules, CDK6, and CCND2 that are involved in the development of leukemia by performing genomic analysis on AML cells. Scientists are now trying combinations of medicines involving palbociclib in order to eliminate AML effectively without causing extensive therapy-associated collateral damage.

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