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Scientists Find A Possible Way To Treat Leukemia

Posted By: Staff

Leukemia is a cancer of blood-forming tissues that hinders the body's ability to fight infection. The moment you hear of someone being affected with leukemia we generally think that is the end.

Proper monitoring in case of mild leukemia, and in severe cases chemotherapy followed by radiation are considered as the standard treatment modalities for leukemia or commonly known as blood cancer.

Well, here is some good news for those suffering from leukemia or who have any one in the family suffering from this deadly cancer.


A group of scientists from America have found a new possibility to cure leukemia. One of the worst part about leukemia is that, it affects young kids as well.

During the research, the group of scientists from Stanford University and National Institute of Health (NIH) found that a molecule, called "CD22", could serve as a potent target for the killer cells of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a common childhood cancer.

This has come after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a cell-based gene therapy, namely the "CAR T-cell" treatment recently.


The CAR T-cell is a therapy that requires drawing blood from patients and separating out the T cells. This therapy works by genetically modifying a patient's own immune cells to seek out and attack leukemia cells that have a molecule called "CD19" on their surface.

So, during the course of the study Stanford oncologist Crystal Mackall and NIH's pediatric hematologist Terry Fry discovered that a molecule called "CD22" can be a similar target.

For the study, scientists had taken into consideration and treated 21 patients with treatment-resistant B-cell leukemia who are aged seven to 30 to test the new "CD22-directed method. 17 of them were previously treated with CD19-directed therapy and 15 of them had either relapsed or failed to respond.


It was found that at the lowest dose level, one in six patients achieved complete remission after treatment, and with an escalated dose, 11 of 15 patients entered remission.

The new approach is helpful because the cancer cells of some patients who undergo CD19-directed therapy stop expressing the CD19 molecule on the cell surface. The relapse rate of CD22-directed therapy also proved high.

The researchers hope that targeting "CD19 and CD22" simultaneously may produce an approach where cancer cells are unable to evade, thus leading to a new therapy for curing leukemia in the future.

The study was recently published in Journal Nature Medicine.

(With Agency Inputs)

Read more about: leukemia blood cancer
Story first published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 10:59 [IST]
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