Targeting Approaches for Leukemia Treatment

Leukemia cells from individual patients have been shown to be biologically diverse. Targeted biological agents, which block a specific molecular or genetic abnormality in select leukemia cells, may improve outcomes for some leukemia patients without the severe side effects of chemotherapy. For this reason, each leukemia patient undergoes appropriate diagnostic tests to determine whether a targeted therapy is available for their disease subtype.

Clinical Research Trials

Eligible patients may access the latest and most recent treatment advances through clinical research studies at RPCI. About 50% of leukemia patients at RPCI are enrolled in a clinical trial. Trials include tyrosine kinase inhibitors for chronic myeloid leukemia and novel agents for FLT3-mutated acute myeloid leukemia and myelofibrosis with and without JAK2 mutations.

State-of-the-Art Care

A significant number of patients will receive standard induction treatment for their leukemia because they are not candidates for research studies, or for other reasons. Treatment is conducted in a state-of-the art inpatient unit at RPCI. The entire unit and its private patient rooms are High Efficiency Particulate-Free Air (HEPA)-filtered. A dedicated team of nurses attends to the patients’ needs. In addition, RPCI’s Leukemia team works closely with the Blood and Marrow Transplant team to assess each patient’s need and eligibility for transplant.

Blood and Marrow Transplant Program

The Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Program at RPCI performs approximately 100 to 120 blood and marrow transplants each year, treating patients with hematologic disorders including acute and chronic leukemias, aplastic anemia, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome, and selected solid tumors.

RPCI’s BMT unit was designed for patient safety and comfort. The entire BMT unit and its 14 private patient rooms are HEPA-filtered. This maintains the highest protection against airborne pathogens. The nursing staff is specially trained in the management and care of immunocompromised BMT patients, who have special needs.