Taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice for some acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients. Clinical trials are under way for patients at every treatment stage and for patients in remission. Today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society continues to invest funds in ALL research.
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Current ALL Research and Clinical Trials
Scientists are conducting research strategies and clinical trials that hold the promise of increasing remission and cure rates of ALL patients. The following are examples of specific agents under study in clinical trials for ALL.
- Bortezomib (Velcade®)—This drug, approved to treat myeloma and some types of lymphoma, is now being studied for the treatment of relapsed pediatric-ALL patients and patients with T-cell ALL.
- Clofarabine (Clolar®)—Already approved to treat pediatric ALL, it is now showing promising results in studies of adults with ALL. It is also being studied in combination with other drugs in clinical trials for the treatment of children, adolescents and adults with relapsed or refractory ALL.
Janus kinase (JAK) Inhibitor
- Ruxolitinib (Jakafi®)—Already approved to treat myelofibrosis patients, it is being studied in clinical trials in the treatment of pediatric refractory and relapsed ALL.
- Monoclonal antibodies rituximab (Rituxan®) and alemtuzumab (Campath®) — These drugs are already approved in the treatment of other blood cancers. They are currently being studied in clinical trials for ALL.
- Monoclonal antibody blinatumomab (AMG 103) — This new drug has shown promising results in early studies for adult ALL patients who have already received chemotherapy.
- Combination chemotherapy with or without Rituxan — This is being studied for the treatment of younger patients with B-cell ALL.
- Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy — This is another type of immunotherapy. The patient cells are removed through apheresis and modified in a laboratory so they can be reprogrammed to target tumour cells through a gene modification technique. The cells are then returned to the patient following chemotherapy. This technique is being studied in trials for pediatric ALL.