The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute forged a pioneering collaboration, Beat AML, that brings together scientists from multiple disciplines to better understand a complex form of leukemia for which there are currently no broadly effective treatments.
The project, led by Dr. Brian Druker, includes researchers at Stanford University, UT Southwestern Medical Center and Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. Intel Corporation is providing computational analysis and genetic sequencing expertise.
The multi-year project will add more collaborators including pharmaceutical and biotech companies that will test a comprehensive offering of novel drugs to address the underlying molecular complexity of AML.
Druker's research, which has received significant support from LLS, has already revolutionized treatment of another form of leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). He helped prove it was possible to shut down the mutations driving cancer without harming healthy cells, helping to usher in the era of personalized cancer medicine with molecularly targeted therapeutic approaches. The drug Gleevec®, which was developed out of Druker's early research, is now among one of dozens of similar drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Gleevec changed the average life expectancy for CML patients who previously could expect to live only about five years after diagnosis. Now they have a normal lifespan and quality of life.