We distinguish adult leukemia from pediatric because the diseases and their treatments are different. Today, childhood leukemia patients have a very high rate of response and cure; while the adult forms of this disease continue to pose more difficult challenges. For that reason, we focus our testing on adult disease forms.
Leukemia is a group of diseases that affect the development of blood cells in the bone marrow. The type of cell affected and the rate of cell growth determine the leukemia type.
The first-line of treatment for ALL and AML is chemotherapy and for recurrent cases, some oncologists recommend bone marrow transplants. With CLL, chemotherapy and radiation therapies are also employed, with some professionals recommending blood and bone marrow transplantation.
Interferon oral Hydrea (hydroxyurea) and oral Myleran (busulfan) were the first treatments for CML But with the cause of CML now known, researchers have developed a targeted therapy called Gleevec (imatinib), which focuses on the aberrant protein. This therapy must be taken continuously in order to be effective. Some physicians recommend transplantation for younger patients with this disease.
Leukemias are among the most chemo-responsive forms of cancer. While the specific drug combinations vary by disease type, the anthracyclines (doxorubicin, daunorubicin and idarubicin) plus cytarabine are widely used in both AML and ALL, while methotrexate, L-asparaginase, prednisone and vincristine are widely used only in ALL. In CLL, fludarabine, rituxan and alkylating agents like cytoxan and chlorambucil are mainstays of therapy.
These protocols, developed over years of clinical trials, assign patients to the drugs for which they have the greatest statistical probability of response. The fact that all patients with leukemia have an equal likelihood of response to a drug does not mean they will respond equally.
Rational Therapeutics exposes living cancer cells, obtained from your blood sample, to a variety of chemotherapy drugs and novel compounds. A treatment regimen is recommended based on actual observed patterns of cell death.