St. Jude is working with the Chinese Children’s Cancer Group to improve cancer treatment for children worldwide. They led the first Phase III clinical trial comparing targeted therapies for a high-risk type of leukemia.
The leukemia is caused by the fusion of two genes. The fusion results in Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
The fusion underlies 3-4% of ALL, the most common childhood cancer. This high-risk subtype has poor outcomes.
Imatinib is the first targeted therapy against the fusion. The study compared imatinib with the experimental drug dasatinib.
Dasatinib extended leukemia-free survival. That changed the way Ph+ ALL is treated globally.
“This was a very fruitful collaboration,” said corresponding and co-senior author Ching-Hon Pui, MD, Department of Oncology chair. “No single institution could enroll enough patients to do this kind of randomized clinical trial.”
JAMA Oncology published a report on this work.