Over the past few decades, great strides have been made in our understanding of how changes in the genes inside bone marrow cells can progress into certain blood cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the most common acute leukemias in adults. Deeper insights into these gene changes tell us more about the diverse nature of this rare disease, how AML can progress and which treatments might be effective.
“AML can develop either in a healthy person or in those with a predisposing disease of the myeloid cells called myelodysplastic syndrome, also known as MDS,” said C.L. Beach, executive director for MDS & AML, Hematology/Oncology Clinical Research and Development at BMS. “Over time, about one-third of people with MDS develop AML, and this risk can depend on the type of MDS a person has at the time of diagnosis.”
AML is a fast-moving leukemia that starts in the bone marrow and may require immediate treatment. While many patients will achieve remission, about half will relapse within one year. Optimizing treatment, especially of older people with AML with co-morbidities, has remained a challenge for researchers.