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Madrid, October 3 2019:- In recent years, the field of onco-hematology has seen substantial development, and not only regarding promising data from clinical trials, but also due to the emergence of new treatments for patients from the FDA (American Drug Agency) and the EMA (European Drug Agency) that have produced a marked improvement in the survival rates and prognosis of patients.

Among the most significant novelties this year is the success of the first IDH inhibitors in the treatment of acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML). This is one of the main subjects to be addressed by Dr. Adolfo de la Fuente, head of Hematology at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid, at the 8th Conference on Updating in the Treatment of Acute Leukemia, an event organized by the doctor for the last eight years with Dr. Miguel Angel Sanz, head of Oncology and Hematology at the La Fe University Hospital in Valencia.

Mutations in the IDH1 and IDH2 genes generate an accumulation of an oncometabolite; that is, “ a substance that would not be present in normal cells and that causes changes in epigenetics and, therefore, alterations in the expression of certain genes”, Dr. de la Fuente explains.

Recent research has shown that acting on this therapy target using IDH inhibitor drugs would give very positive results, in monotherapy and in combination with other agents, in relapsed patients with this mutation. “These drugs are going to make a marked impact in the life expectancy of patients”, he states.

FLT3 inhibitors to treat acute myeloblastic leukemia

The important role of FLT3 inhibitors in the treatment of AML with a mutation in this gen will also be addressed during the meeting. Various experts will debate the effectiveness of these inhibitors in the treatment of relapsed patients and in maintenance treatment of monitored patients. Likewise, the experts will debate management of these drugs in real clinical practice.

Alterations in the survival/apoptosis balance of leukemia cells will be another of the subjects discussed at the meeting. According to the latest research in the field, overexpression of the protein bci-2 might predict resistance to chemotherapy in acute myeloblastic leukemia and, for that reason, the bci-2 family of proteins has also become a key therapy target in research into this type of leukemia in recent years.

The arrival of immunotherapy (monoclonal antibodies and CART cells) has completely changed treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and, although at a slower rate, treatment of acute myeloblastic leukemia. “These treatments are changing the prognosis of these patients”, states Dr. de la Fuente.

In the opinion of the doctor, it is not enough to have a cell target, monoclonal or a new cytostatic formula effective against in vitro tumor cells, but the important thing is, later on, see how these new agents can help people. “We have to study the best way to administer these agents, what is ideal in terms of dose and the time between doses, whether it is effective or not in combination with other agents, etc.”. In fact, he adds, the last part of the process is often the most complicated”.

Growing novelties in this area mean that, at the congress, other pathologies, which share a frontier with acute leukemia, like myelodysplastic syndromes are addressed. “This group of pathologies share some action mechanisms with leukemia, which makes us think that including them may make the meeting more enriching”, Dr. de la Fuente states.