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Madrid, 5 October 2023.- The latest developments in research and approaches to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes and chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms and the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in this field were just a few of the topics for discussion and debate at the twelfth edition of the Acute Leukaemia Open Days organised by MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid and the MD Anderson Cancer Center Spain Foundation. The event, held between the 5th and 7th October with an extensive program, saw the participation of experts from MD Anderson in Houston and other leading centres at both national and international level, including representatives from Israel, England, Germany and Lithuania among others.

“We are now seeing the emergence of ever more interesting projects involving artificial intelligence, which is not only being applied to diagnostic procedures, but also in the design and construction of algorithms for decision making, treatment and management.  Models are being developed which appear to help identify the groups most at risk among individuals who we previously categorised as sharing the same disease. These risk groups can exhibit different behaviour and with the use of AI we may have found a tool for taking decisions on what treatments to use”, noted Doctor Adolfo de la Fuente, Head of the Haematology Department at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid and open day coordinator.  

In this context, De la Fuente emphasised that applying artificial intelligence technology and algorithms to these pathologies represents a revolution with highly promising results. “We are entering the molecular era. Better study and understanding of the biology of each leukaemia allows us to identify which alterations are present in the disease cells and, as a result, whether any of these mutations will be susceptible to treatment with any of the Target Therapies. These are drugs which act on specific alterations in the tumour cells and can improve the expectations of survival of the patients”, continued the doctor.

The specialist added that, in regards to the progress of Target Therapies, some are already available such as the FLT3 or IDH inhibitors, although “many more are still at the development stage”.

Nevertheless, although the use of artificial intelligence is opening up new and promising horizons, the doctor maintains that it is a genuine challenge: “The artificial intelligence models seem to want to go one step further when creating predictive models on which therapies would be ideal for each disease or patient. We are still in a very early stage, but it is very exciting and generating interesting debate and questions”.

 The challenge for maintenance strategies and the advances in Haematopoietic Stem-cell Transplantation (HSTC)

The program for the 12th Edition of the MD Anderson Madrid Acute Leukaemia Open days focused on other current haematology topics, such as the understanding of less common diseases, such as blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm, or the challenge of maintenance, an ongoing issue when discussing Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. As the doctor highlighted, the widely held belief for decades has been that Acute Myeloid Leukaemia was a disease where treatment resulted in either complete success or the exact opposite.   

“It was always maintained that the only potentially curative strategy was to induce complete remission with intensive therapy and then perform Haematopoietic Stem-cell Transplantation (HSTC), with no middle ground. Over recent years, although this idea has not changed dramatically, we have seen certain maintenance strategies demonstrate benefits for the patients in terms of survival. At the meetings we will discuss these strategies which, in some scenarios, might even increase the number of people cured”, he added.

The various sessions also addressed the advances in prevention and the improved quality of life for the patients. “After many years of intense debate around the benefits of immunotherapy, we are seeing a resurgence of interest in aspects more related to prevention, as well as improvement to patients’ quality of life. This includes specific procedures and strategies to be undertaken in the context of Haematopoietic Stem-cell Transplantation for people with leukaemia or malignant blood diseases, explained Doctor De la Fuente.

As with the previous editions, the program was designed with the help of an expert Scientific Committee in order to ensure that all the most topical issues and significant new findings in the field of leukaemia were included. The full program is available via this link: