Stem Cell Transplantation Provides Hope to Treat Rare Untreatable Leukemia

A new study has shown that stem cell transplantation produced great results to treat patients suffering from leukemia, especially the “juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML)” which doesn’t have any treatment.

The new study by American scientists has shown that stem cell transplantation produced great results to treat patients suffering from JMML too.


Photo Credit: Mikael Haggstorm

A research team from the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation carried out the study. Headed by Hisham Abdel-Azim, they analyzed the children who went through allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and discovered that all of them were living and in clinical diminution.

HSCT consists of transplantation of stem cells from a donor – obtained from umbilical cord blood, bone marrow or peripheral blood. The patient’s immune system is generally damaged due to radiation or chemotherapy prior to the transplantation takes place.

Although HSCT is the only known cure for JMML, it has shown best results only in half of the patients. The research team stated that at present there is no usual conditioning regime for children, suffering from JMML and who are going through HSCT.

Abdel-Azim said that owing to the absence of transplant-associated death in children they investigated upon, in CHLA’s Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases “suggests that BUMEL (Intravenous Busulfan and Melphalan) may represent a successful HSCT high-dose chemotherapy regimen.”

He added that there is a likelihood that running standard dose chemotherapy, prior to HSCT, in patients “with more progressive disease may have contributed to the improved outcomes.”

He emphasized that a follow-up clinical experiment is necessary to approve these hopeful discoveries. The study has been published in the July 23 issue of the journal “Blood”.

According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 24,450 individuals lost their lives to leukemia in 2015 in U.S – 4.1 percent of all the cancer deaths in the countries. The same report said that 58.5 percent of individuals have been surviving for five years with the disease between the time span of 2005-2011.

According to the Cancer Research UK, the percentage of survivals among individuals with the disease for 10 years or more between the time span of 2010-2011 is 46 percent. 8,616 new cases were registered U.K in 2011 with 4,807 persons dying in 2012.

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