Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study indicates arsenic could be suitable as first-line treatment in type of leukaemia

29.09.2004


Arsenic trioxide – a highly poisonous substance best known as an effective weed killer or pesticide and notorious for being a favourite ’weapon’ of choice in murder mystery novels, is being re-invented as a treatment for a rare type of leukaemia.


It is already licensed as an orphan drug (the term for drugs intended to treat rare conditions) for patients who have relapsed after initial therapy for acute promyeloctytic leukaemia (APL).

But now, a research team led by Dr. Ardeshir Ghavamzadeh and Dr. Kamran Alimoghaddam at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, are running a trial of its use in newly diagnosed APL patients who have received no prior therapy, and they are impressed enough with its effectiveness to suggest that it should now be considered as a first-line treatment for APL. They also believe it is likely to prove effective in other cancers such as multiple myeloma.

Dr. Ghavamzadeh, professor of medicine at Tehran University, today (Wednesday 29 September) reported at the EORTC-NCI-AACR[1] Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Geneva that two courses of the drug achieved complete remission in over 90% of the 63 patients in a Phase II study being carried out at the city’s Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Center. 88.5% of patients were still alive with a mean survival time to date of nearly 34 months. Of 11 patients who relapsed, eight went back into remission after a third cycle of treatment. Six patients in the trial have died.



APL accounts for around 10% of acute myeloid leukaemias and affects an estimated 20,000 people worldwide each year. It is a cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by a rapid accumulation of abnormal white cells in the bone marrow and the blood, resulting in anaemia, bleeding and susceptibility to infections. It occurs in people of all ages, although it is more common in older people. The five-year survival rate for patients receiving the current optimum treatment of chemotherapy plus ATRA (All Trans-Retinoic Acid – a vitamin A-based substance) is between 60 and 80 percent.

"There have been a few studies done using arsenic trioxide on a limited number of newly diagnosed patients, but we are the first group to suggest that it is acceptable as a first-line treatment," said Dr. Ghavamzadeh. "The results are comparable to ATRA with chemotherapy and in our study it has actually proved to be better than ATRA with chemotherapy. What this means is that we now have the possibility of offering APL patients a new first-line treatment that avoids conventional chemotherapy. It also means that if we have this drug and other effective drugs such as ATRA available as well, most patients will be able to avoid the need for bone marrow transplants." Arsenic compounds have been used in medicine for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Chinese and the Romans, but it was the Chinese in the 1980s that first tried it in leukaemia after finding it was the active ingredient in some traditional Chinese preparations.

The drug works by causing changes in cancer cells, inducing apoptosis – programmed cell death. It also appears to correct the gene responsible for making a flawed protein (the PML–RAR fusion protein) that causes APL.

The research team used RT-PCR2 techniques to confirm the diagnosis of APL by identifying the rogue gene in their study patients. This further enabled them to establish a new classification for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Part of the disease process in APL is due to a translocation involving chromosomes 15 and 17. Their results from the RT-PCR analysis suggested that AML should be reclassified by dividing it into two groups – APL with t(15-17) and t(15,17) negative AML. t(15-17) negative AML would then be sub-divided in line with the World Health Organization’s histologic classification system. The researchers believe that this would make sense because t(15-17) positive AML and t(15-17) negative AML have a totally different prognosis and need a different treatment approach.

Margaret Willson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.eortc.be

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>