Taking part in a clinical trial may be a good treatment choice for people with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). Clinical trials are under way to help improve treatment, extend survival and improve the quality of life for CMML patients. Today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society continues to invest funds in CMML research.
Clinical trials can involve new drugs, new combinations of drugs or approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new ways such as new drug doses or new schedules to administer the drugs. Clinical trials are conducted worldwide under rigorous guidelines to help doctors find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.
Current CMML Research and Clinical Trials
Below are some types of research and clinical trials for new or improved drug therapies and other treatment under way:
- New drug combinations. Scientists are studying the effects of combining decitabine (Dacogen®), currently approved to treat CMML, with other drugs such as vorinostat (Zolinza®) and arsenic trioxide (Trisenox®). They're hopeful that patients who haven't responded to treatment or who have relapsed after initial therapy will respond favourably to these combinations.
- Fusion protein DT388 GM-CSF. Studies show that fusing DT388 (a toxic substance) with a growth factor called a granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) allows for the targeting of cells with GM-CSF receptors - which include CMML cells. This method can kill CMML cells while sparing normal cells.
- Reduced-intensity allogeneic stem cell transplantation. Doctors are studying a reduced-intensity stem cell transplantation, also called a nonmyeloablative transplantation, that may help some CMML patients who don't respond to therapy and who aren't candidates for standard allogeneic transplantation because they're older and have poor overall health. Unlike standard transplantation, reduced-intensity transplantation doesn't completely destroy the diseased marrow and relies on donor immune cells to fight the disease.