In 2001, a “magic little pill” called Gleevec changed cancer treatment forever and chronic myeloid leukemia became a managable chronic condition with minimal side effects. Now fast forward to present day; Gleevec has FDA approval for ten different cancers.
Think of the number of lives saved with that initial investment (one made possible by LLS supporters like you).
Needless to say, LLS is on a quest for more targeted oral therapies like Gleevec. And we have several researchers “on the case,” including UCSF’s, Dr. Neil Shah, MD, Ph.D.
FLT3, one of the vital genetic mutations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), seemed to have tremendous potential as a target for a Gleevec-like drug. The thought being that if you were to knock out FLT3, you would kill the cancer cells. Unfortunately, FLT3 has proven to be a slippery devil and even the most potent FLT3-inhibiting, Gleevec-like drugs have not been successful.
Dr. Shah and his team recently learned why.
Turns out FLT3 cells can evade destruction by acquiring new mutations – the mutations mutate to avoid being killed. The good news is the team has also identified several promising drugs that will go after the mutation’s mutations. One of them is already in clinical trials. Dr. Shah believes that combinations of multiple, FLT3 inhibiting drugs can be used to suppress all drug-resistant forms of FLT3 and improve outcomes for AML patients.
For the detailed report on Dr. Shah’s recent findings, visit http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/27488.