Purdue University researchers are developing a series of drug compounds to treat recurrence of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive and deadly blood cancer. About 19,520 people are diagnosed with AML each year, and about 10,670 die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.
About 30 percent of AML patients have an FLT3 enzyme mutation that makes the disease more aggressive. Patients treated with new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Radapt and Gilteritinib, both FLT3 inhibitors – have shown good initial response to treating leukemia. But AML patients treated with FLT3 inhibitors often relapse due to secondary mutations. Existing treatments have not been entirely successful in these cases.
But a series of compounds developed by researchers with Purdue’s Department of Chemistry appear to work not only on ALM patients with the FLT3 mutation, but also AML patients with the relapse mutation.
“These compounds have a great potential to be the next-generation AML therapeutics for relapsed patients who no longer respond to first- or second-generation FLT3 inhibitors,” the researchers said.
AML accounts for about 1 percent of all cancers. It starts in the bone marrow, but usually moves quickly into the blood. There are certain risk factors that increase a person’s chance of developing the disease, including smoking, being treated with certain chemotherapy drugs, and exposure to certain chemicals like benzene, according to the American Cancer Society.
Benzene is a solvent used in the rubber industry, oil refineries, chemical plants, shoe manufacturing, and gasoline-related industries. It is one of the most used chemicals in industries despite its carcinogenic qualities. Many people have developed AML after being exposed to benzene in the workplace.
American Cancer Society