New therapy mounts double-barreled attack on leukaemia

University of Florida researchers have found a new therapy that mounts a double- barreled attack on leukaemia, targeting not just the cancer cells but also the environment in which those cells live and grow.

Like striking an enemy camp directly as well as cutting off its source of food and other resources, the agent, called Oxi4503, poisons leukaemia cells and destroys the blood vessels that supply them with oxygen and nutrients.

Use of the treatment in mouse models of acute myelogenous leukaemia, or AML, is described online and in an upcoming print issue of the journal Blood.

The researchers plan human tests of the drug at Shands at UF later this year.

“We’ve identified a new tool to dissect out the specifics of the relationship between leukaemia cells and the blood vessels that supply them. What we are offering is a brand new treatment by a very different mechanism to people who desperately need something new,” said Christopher Cogle, M.D., the UF College of Medicine oncologist who is senior author of the paper and a member of the UF Shands Cancer Center.

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