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There is renewed hope for Australians living with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) thanks to a new international clinical trial that, until recently, would not have been available to Australian sufferers without leaving the country.
Head of Leukaemia and Deputy Director of Haematology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Dr Paula Marlton, is leading the Australian arm of a new trial from the Netherlands targeted at a specific group of newly diagnosed patients.
“This clinical trial aims to understand whether the addition of new targeted treatments to existing standard treatments, like chemotherapy, will improve outcomes for patients,” she said.
The HO156/AMLM24 trial, led by the Haemato Oncology Foundation for Adults in the Netherlands, will investigate whether either midostaurin or a more potent FLT3-targeted therapy, gilteritinib, can improve survival for this cohort of patients when added to intensive chemotherapy.
“We know that around 30 per cent of patients with newly-diagnosed AML experience changes in a specific gene.
“Adding therapies like midostaurin, which targets these gene changes, can improve survival in these patients,” she said.
Partnering with the nation’s leading blood cancer clinical trial group the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG), the Trials Enabling Program established by the Leukaemia Foundation in 2015 is helping Australian’s access new clinical trials and novel therapies, years ahead of their expected availability on the Australian market.
“This trial is an important example of how international collaborations can help improve access to new therapies for Australians with blood cancer,” said Dr Marlton.
Further information, and details on current clinical trials through the TEP can be found via the Leukaemia Foundation.