New Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment Found - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/16/07 - Houston, Texas

New Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment Found

U.S. cancer researchers say the first "antisense" drug to be tested in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients has been successful in phase III clinical trials.

An antisense drug involves a strand of DNA that is responsible for turning off the function of a gene. The drug in the study, oblimersen (Genasense), provided benefit for a specific subset of patients -- those who are still sensitive to fludarabine, a chemotherapy drug often used to treat that cancer.

"The results make sense because oblimersen is designed to work alongside chemotherapy," said the study's lead author, Dr. Susan O'Brien of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "We found in this study that oblimersen enhances sensitivity to chemotherapy, and so we think it deserves further study in a population of (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) patients who are sensitive to chemotherapy agents," she says.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow, is the second most common type of leukemia in adults. The disease claims about 4,500 lives each year in the United States.

The study appears in the early on-line edition of the March 20 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Story courtesy of the Associated Press.

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