New drugs for leukemia may Athena jury's special prize 2010-12-01 After 23 years of work can Gothenburg Scientists give hope to leukemia patients. A new drug to prevent recurrence of the severe disease. Extremely patient. In research, it is a property well worth the reward, believe Athena jury. That is one reason why the jury's honorable mention goes to researchers in Gothenburg.
Professor and Chief Kristoffer Hellstrand began already in his doctoral dissertation in 1987 to look at how the inactivation of the immune system's tumor-killing lymphocytes could be prevented.
Several studies later, he and his Hematology Mats Brune demonstrated that treatment with histamine dihydrochloride, HDC, and interleukin-2, IL-2, together is an effective weapon against cancer cells. The combination HDC/IL-2 is used to prevent relapse in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, AML.
- This is really gratifying and flattering, "says Elisabeth Wall Hult, study nurse in the project at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, for honorable mention.
She has been with us since the first patient was treated with HDC/IL-2 in the early 1990s and seen how many have been helped.
AML is one of the most serious and common forms of acute leukemia. The standard treatment with chemotherapy has in recent years clearly improved the prognosis for patients. More people can now achieve complete remission, which means that it is impossible to detect leukemia in the bone marrow and the blood is formed normally. The problem is that once the cases are still many, and so far no treatment could prevent relapse.
Treatment with HDC/IL-2 increases the ability to avoid relapse by more than 50 percent. The side effects are also modest.
The project was run by Kristoffer Hellstrand, Mats Brune, Göteborg University in cooperation with Sahlgrenska University Hospital, researchers and doctors at the Sahlgrenska Academy, and 100 hematology in ten countries.