Study seeks to hike leukemia drug efficacy


PHILADELPHIA (UPI) — U.S. and British scientists say they’ve identified a class of drugs that may enhance the effectiveness of medications used to treat chronic myeloid leukemia.

People with chronic myeloid leukemia are usually first treated with a drug known as imatinib mesylate. Although very effective at first, the body often becomes resistant to the drug as the disease progresses. Now a team of researchers from Britain’s University of Leicester and Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia has identified a class of drugs that might enhance the therapeutic effects of imatinib mesylate and other drugs that target the same molecule.

Researches, led by Paolo Salomoni and Bruno Calabretta, observed that in several different CML cell lines and primary cells, although imatinib mesylate killed the majority of cells, a marked proportion underwent a process known as autophagy, destroying themselves.

The scientists determined suppression of autophagy by using either drugs or RNA interference enhanced imatinib mesylate and also induced death of CML cell lines.

The researchers suggest inhibitors of autophagy might be used with imatinib mesylate or other drugs that target the same molecule to enhance their therapeutic benefits.

The study appeared in the Journal of Clinical Investigations and is available online at

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 20th April 2009

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