Asthma Drug Effective Against Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML)

While I'm no longer comfortable consistently reporting the results of clinical studies in this blog, I thought this one was especially promising.

Research published by in the most recent issue of Nature Genetics suggests that one chronic and sometimes lethal illness, asthma, may be able to help patients with another chronic and often lethal illness, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).

The researchers believe they've identified a gene that features prominently in the inflammatory response of an asthma attack: Alox5.

However, that gene is also "vital to the development and maintenance of" slow-dividing cancer stem cells—the cells many researchers believe are to blame for a number of cancers, including CML.

In the lab, researchers found that mice without this gene did not develop CML.

The mice with MCL (and therefore with the gene) were treated with an asthma medication known as Zileuton, a leukotriene synthesis inhibitor. It blocks the inflammation pathway of the gene, helping to prevent an asthma attack. Researchers also gave the mice the leukemia drug imatinib (Gleevec).

Seperately, the CML responded well to both drugs … but here's the first kicker: Zileuton outperformed the imatinib.

And the second: treating the CML with BOTH drugs provided even better results.

You can read the full report at Medical News Today.

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