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Two new leukaemia discoveries

September 28, 2015

Researchers at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne have discovered how Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) fights against one of the latest cancer treatments. The risk of resistance developing to any new cancer treatment is very common, however it can provide valuable clues to beating the deadly disease.

AML stem cells are particularly aggressive and knowing how they respond when under attack enables researchers to devise interventions that can neutralise the source of resistance before it develops.

Research published in the scientific journal Nature also shows how Peter Mac’s Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory team has been able to grow and maintain leukaemia stem cells in a laboratory dish, making it easier and faster to test new treatments for AML.

The double discovery was made in conjunction to an international clinical trial at Peter Mac.  Lead investigator, Associate Professor Mark Dawson, said it will boost understanding of AML which affects more than 300,000 people globally each year.

“Our clinical trial of BET-inhibitors is giving new hope to selected patients with aggressive forms of AML. However, the risk of resistance developing is common in any cancer treatment. Knowing precisely how that happens in advance puts us one step ahead in outmaneuvering the disease.”

“Being able to grow and maintain leukaemia stem cells in vitro, also gives us unprecedented access and insight into how they work, so we can find new and better ways to target and destroy them,” said Associate Professor Dawson.

The original news article was published on Peter Mac’s website.

The original research article is available on the Nature website.

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