A One-Two Punch to Knock Out Leukemia

Scientists at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, have been looking into better ways to treat leukemia.  

Specifically, their concern for leukemia patients is that drugs will restrict the progression of their disease, but not completely eliminate it.  Therefore, leukemia patients are constantly taking drugs to manage their disease, often with unpleasant side effects, and comes with a risk of resistance and then failure to respond.

They began looking at drug combinations, that hit the leukemia cells while they are weakened by the initial treatment (for example: ibrutinib, currently the most common).   Looking at epigenitic changes in the leukemia cells for patients currently ibrutinib treatment, they can determine drug sensitivities in these cells that wouldn't affect healthy cells.

Their goal is to move toward combination therapies, and more personalized oncology.