5 more years
Significant results have been achieved thanks to the many research projects GIMEMA has carried out. The GIMEMA name appears more and more frequently in international scientific journals of repute and this gives hope in the search for new, innovative and improved therapeutic strategies for the future. Looking back, one example stands out above all others: the study into Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia (APL).
In only 10 years patient survival rates have changed from under a year to more than five years
, thanks to studies carried out by GIMEMA.
A new drug
Another important result is the one obtained with the (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)
. GIMEMA decided, around 8 years ago, to use a Philadelphia chromosome "targeted" drug developed to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia and to study its activity on ALL. The study lasted many years and has enabled us to collect information on both adult patients (between 18 and 60 years of age) and elderly patients (defined as over 60 years of age). Revolutionary results were observed in the elderly. Indeed, they had no hope of recovery from their disease. Chemotherapy use is mostly contraindicated as baseline conditions do not tolerate it. With the new drug in combination with a dose of cortisone, we saw complete remission of the disease in 100% of patients treated
, (disappearance of leukaemic cells from the blood and normalization of red and white blood cells and platelets, with a reduction in undifferentiated bone marrow cells of at least 5%). All this was achieved with the administration of oral therapy, without the need for hospitalization; indeed, we turned the dream of curing an acute leukaemia by administering pills taken with a simple glass of water into reality.
Now we are left with the challenge of developing a treatment strategy
- perhaps by combining several "intelligent" drugs together – which in addition to sending leukaemia into complete remission, will also prevent its recurrence
. For the time being, only stem cell transplant seems to be able to ensure a cure in a reasonable percentage of cases.
The story of GIMEMA shows how excellent results in clinical practice can be achieved through this collaborative organisational model.
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