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UNMC study looks to improve survival of older patients with leukemia

Posted at 8:27 AM, Jul 03, 2019

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The survival statistics of older adults over age 60 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are not good due to age factors and the nature of the disease. Now, a research study being done at the University of Nebraska Medical Center is trying to improve survival.

"This is a tough disease," said Vijaya Raj Bhatt, M.D., UNMC associate professor and medical director of the leukemia program for Nebraska Medicine, UNMC's clinical partner. “In the past, the question was which patient should get more aggressive chemotherapy versus less aggressive chemo. We have not known very well how to choose one treatment over another.”

Dr. Bhatt said the goal of the study is to find a systematic way to determine who may or may not tolerate intensive chemotherapy. He said in the last two years, the Food and Drug Administration has approved eight new medications to treat AML. Dr. Bhatt said he and his team will consider a patient's treatment depending on what type of AML they have, as well as their physical, mental, and social health.

Researchers plan to enroll up to 75 patients in the five-year study, which has been going on for more than 18 months.