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Translational Research Successes

Laboratory and Clinical Collaborations Provide Targeted Therapies for Difficult to Treat Blood Cancers

Daniel Pollyea, MD

The field is moving toward targeted therapies for these diseases; this is the same direction another leukemia-- chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)-- has recently gone, and as a result, treating CLL has been revolutionized by the approval of two targeted therapies. AML and MDS are much more complicated diseases biologically but some of the principles we’ve learned from CLL are relevant and provide a roadmap for how finding a good target and hitting it with a good drug can change paradigms.

Here at the University of Colorado I’m very proud that our leukemia program has been a leading contributor to some of the most exciting recent clinical trials for AML and MDS. Our goal is to effectively target the leukemia stem cell population which is the small, but hardy group of cells that doesn’t die with traditional chemotherapy and causes the disease to relapse and be resistant to treatment. We have an enormous laboratory and clinical effort to help further this goal and I am pleased to say we are making exciting progress. We have had the good fortune to present our results at meetings all over the world these past few years and I have every expectation that this momentum will continue. We will not be satisfied until we can effectively eradicate these horrible diseases and I am optimistic that through our efforts and the efforts of others we will realize our goals.

Published in The Bloodline, May 2015