Trials in the USA show 53% of patients with acute leukemia are now in complete or partial remission thanks to a new drug
Revumenib was found to be promising in two studies published by US researchers in Nature on Wednesday. Nearly 4% of all cancer deaths worldwide in 2020 were due to leukaemia.
Revumenib, a new drug, was tested on 60 patients suffering from an acute form. More than half of them experienced complete or partial remission. Two months after remission, more than three quarters of those in the latter group were still in recovery.
This Phase 1 trial, which was conducted at nine locations in the US between 2019-2022 and a small number of volunteers, showed early evidence of potential treatments.
Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston examined specific mutations in genes that could lead to resistance to revumenib in a Phase 1 study. This was also published in Nature on the same day.
Leukaemia, a blood cancer, is found in the bone marrow where red blood cells can be produced. There are two types of leukaemia: acute and chronic. In 2020, nearly 4 percent of all cancer deaths worldwide were due to these types.
It has been established that acute leukaemia is caused by genes in the human body. This has been well researched. As the disease progresses, these genes are subject to a variety of mutations. This has been documented.
A mutation in the NPM1 gene, or a rearrangement in the KMT2Ar genes is the hallmark of acute leukemia. Both of these genes have been shown play a role the disease's progression.
These genes are not currently being treated. Preclinical studies in the early stages of clinical trials have shown that menin, which is a protein responsible for suppressing tumors, allows the progression mutations in two leukaemia genes.
According to Issa and her colleagues' first study, 68 patients were treated using an experimental dose revumenib (formerly known as SNDX-5613)These patients included 60 adults and 8 children under 18 years old, making them the first humans to be treated by this drug.
60 of the 68 participants were eligible for evaluation. At least 53% of these 60 participants experienced some level of remission, or stop in the growth of cancer. 33% (18 of 60) experienced complete remission.
The paper's authors wrote that they found a positive clinical benefit with deep molecular remissions in children with advanced acute leukemia and minimal toxicities in this population.
The authors wrote that this is the first study to show that a chromatin targeting therapeutic drug exerts enough selection pressure on patients to drive the evolution escape mutants that lead chromatin occupancy. This suggests a common mechanism for therapeutic resistance.
It is important to identify the pathways that lead to drug resistance in order to develop effective strategies to combat this problem.