Research into leukaemia

The Vissing Foundation funds a large, clinical research project aiming to optimise treatment for adults and children with leukaemia who are treated with the drug imatinib.

Anna Sofie Kappel Buhl, Doctor, PhD Student, Paediatric Oncology Research Laboratory, Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Rigshospitalet, explains that imatinib is an important and effective drug for most patients but that way too many patients develop adverse drug reactions or resistance in the cells. A major part of these treatment failures is probably caused by incorrect medicine doses.

”We’ll perform a randomised clinical trial to investigate whether an individualised dose of imatinib based on blood concentrations benefits patients. We’ll draw blood samples from patients when they need to have blood samples drawn anyway. The financial funding from the Vissing Foundation means that each patient that is part of the project will have key drug metabolism proteins crucial to the imatinib metabolism analysed. This is the decisive factor in the project, especially because the patient group ranges from babies where the medicine metabolism is influenced by changes of the body related to growth to older patients where other diseases and use of other medicine may affect the metabolism of imatinib,” says Anna Sofie Kappel Buhl.

The project actively involves the patients. During the study, researchers will identify patients who turn out to have received undertreatment or overtreatment and will then enable the doctor responsible for the treatment to adjust the dose of each patient.

”This enables us to examine whether patients obtain an improved response to the treatment and experience fewer adverse reactionsby having their imatinib dose individualised. We hope to improve future treatment by specifying treatment for each patient,” says Anna Sofie Kappel Buhl.