Progress in acute myeloid leukemia treatment – collaborating to develop targeted therapies

Wolfgang Hiddemann, MD, PhD, from the University Hospital Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU), Munich, Germany discusses progress in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) treatment at the International Symposium on Acute Leukemias (ISAL) 2017 in Munich, Germany. He highlights the progress that has been made over the past decades, comparing his personal experience in the 1970s, when almost all acute myeloid leukemia patients died, to the current situation, where around 40% of patient are cured in the younger patient group up to the age of 60. Prof. Hiddemann describes promising developments, such as the deeper insight we now have into disease biology, the ability to define molecular changes impacting on the clinical course, and the possibility of using these molecular changes to direct treatment. He argues that while there has been no breakthrough yet in identifying specific targets for improving acute myeloid leukemia treatments, the search for the best targets requires a collaboration between clinicians to enroll patients in clinical trials, basic researchers to choosing pathways to target, and the pharmaceutical industry. Prof. Hiddemann points out that the aim is to improve acute myeloid leukemia patient outcomes, and not to increase the amount of drugs that can be sold.

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