A new study has found a new treatment approach that could offer hope to patients with the aggressive blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).
The study conducted at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute also found that imetelstat delayed or prevented relapse of AML following chemotherapy.
Dr Steven Lane asserted that they tested the drug imetelstat against human leukaemia models and found that it killed or impaired progression of the disease.
Lane continued that it did this by inhibiting a protein needed for the formation of the leukaemia stem cells, which otherwise have enormous self-renewal capacity.
Lane said that the study found that by turning off a gene called telomerase, the cancer cells became unstable and eventually the cells died.
Lane added that early phase clinical trials of imetelstat were already underway for a number of blood cancers, including myelofibrosis so it should be straight forward to start clinical trials in AML.
The study has been published in Cell Stem Cell.