St. Jude scientists have shown that allowing more time between rounds of certain chemotherapy drugs limits their side effects and boosts their ability to kill leukemia cells.
The team used mouse models to mirror acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) therapy. They tested the drug asparaginase with a discontinuous schedule of dexamethasone.
These drugs are more effective together but have been linked to bone damage. A discontinuous schedule of dexamethasone helps reduce the bone damage.
The schedule change limited bone damage when the two drugs were given together. The treatment was also more effective.
“This regimen is part of the backbone of ALL treatment,” said corresponding author Seth Karol, MD, of the St. Jude Department of Oncology. “These results show that we’re on the right track clinically.”
A report on this work appeared in PLoS One.