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Published on 7 October 2009

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Leukaemia drugs to target genes

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Tailoring acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) drugs to a patient’s genetic make-up is the focus of ground-breaking research funded by Cancer Research UK.

Trials backed by the Cardiff Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) are exploiting the fact that AML varies from person to person because of slightly different faults in different genes.

Says Professor Alan Burnett, at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine: “Our team identifies the different faults in genes which are likely to cause acute myeloid leukaemia and we develop new drugs to treat the varying forms of the disease.”

He is working to identify drugs that potentially may be used to treat the different variations of the disease by measuring how well people with different genetic faults respond to specific new treatments.

Details of the research, which also codes the genes of those people with AML taking part in the the trials, are due to be revealed at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Birmingham.

In the UK, 7,200 people a year develop leukaemia annually, of which 2,200 will have AML. It is most common in the over-65s. and smoking increases the risk of developing it.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Cardiff Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre



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