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New ‘leukaemia-killing’ drug found


Researchers claim to have found a new drug that can kill leukaemia cells in adult patients.

PBOX-15 has the ability to even destroy cancerous cells in adult patients given a poor prognosis and who have displayed resistance to other treatments, researchers said.

Published in the international journal Cancer Research, the study was conducted by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) academics, along with Italy’s University of Sienna.

Lead investigator Professor Mark Lawler, of TCD’s school of medicine, said PBOX-15 fought and destroyed the skeleton in leukaemia cell samples from patients.

The drug also worked when tested for the treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL), the most common leukaemia in the western world among adults. CLL afflicts the blood and bone marrow. In 2007, 114 new cases of the disease were diagnosed in the Irish Republic, according to the National Cancer Registry.

PBOX-15 was found to be more effective than fludarabine, the drug currently used, and also destroyed CLL cells resistant to treatment, TCD scientists said.

Professor Lawler said it could be another three to five years before the drug is used as a life saving treatment.

Copyright Press Association 2009

Trinity College of Dublin leukaemia research

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