In the first case, an international research team headed by Professor of Medicine, Philippe Lambouls, of the University of Paris, who published the publication in the journal Nature, announced that a common antidiabetic drug, pleglitazone (also known as Actos) administered to 24 patients with blood cancer, coupled with classical treatment for leukemia, had positive results.
More than half of patients who had chronic myelogenous leukemia and had not responded positively to conventional therapy experienced complete remission of the disease after 12 months of treatment with the antidiabetic drug. Some did not show any cancer recurrence within the next five years.
Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a relatively rare cancer of the blood, mainly of the adult, which causes overproduction of abnormal white blood cells in the blood. Disease usually progresses slowly, but if it suddenly accelerates, it can be fatal.
Although several therapeutic regimens have already been discovered (eg imatinib, also known as Gleevec), they do not help all patients, as many cancer cells remain in the bone marrow hypnosis and sometime they can multiply .
Scientists hope that the same antidiabetic medicine may be useful for other similar cancers, but more clinical trials must be carried out, and – as other experts have pointed out – the side effects of pioglitazone should also be taken into account. More trials of the p************l combination of pioglitazone-imatinib are already in progress and their effects are expected over the next three to five years.
The second development concerns the encouraging results of an experimental cell therapy by the Swiss p************l company Novartis, which started in 2010 with 14 patients who have had chronic lymphocytic leukemia, another form of blood cancer. No cancer patients had previously responded to any other treatment.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School headed by David David Porter and published in the medical journal Science Translational Medicine. Some patients did not show any evidence of their disease in their blood, almost five years after the experimental treatment.
The treatment, codenamed CTL019, consists in the genetic modification of the patient’s immune system (T-leukocytes), so that they act now as antibodies that destroy cancer cells. Follow-up chemotherapy is the reintroduction of mutant immune cells into the cancer of the cancer.
All signs of cancer disappeared in four patients (29%) and in four others there was cancer regression, while 12 (43%) did not respond at all, resulting in leukemia worsening. All patients had a severe inflammation, with flu-like symptoms, which could be fatal, although the researchers found a way to treat it with other medicines.