A Changing Paradigm for CML Treatment

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Topics include: Treatments

CML expert Dr. Giuseppe Saglio joined Patient Power at the 2014 American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting to discuss the changing paradigm for CML treatment. Dr. Saglio reviews research presented at the conference and the potential for an "operational cure."

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Hello and welcome to Patient Power. Andrew Schorr on location in San Francisco at the American Society of Hematology meeting. This gentleman’s actually one of my Facebook friends, Dr. Saglio from Torino or Turin, Italy. And, of course, he’s a CML specialist. We’ve spoken with him before.

For friends with CML, they want to understand how can they have the most powerful medicine, and what is the benefit for them so they can live well? You’re associated with the latest research. Give us an update for patients with CML. What do we know now? 

Dr. Saglio:

We know that the part of the technique of CML is changing, because before we were looking mainly more for overall survival. Nowadays, we are looking also for the discontinuation from the therapies or what we can define as an operational cure although we will not know if it is a definitive cure. We still do not know. And so we need I would say more powerful medicines than the all-to glory, which is represented by imatinib (Gleevec®). Imatinib is still a beautiful drug - still the basis I would say for the treatment of CML patients. 

But certainly we are starting to see that using more potent and even I would say even more specific drugs against activity, we can obtain results which are better in terms of we can prevent some more progressions which can still occur, unfortunately, in some CML patients and which in most cases are really fatal events even in our days. And we can reach a deeper and faster, more aggressive policies, which are certainly what you need if you want to try sooner or later to discontinue the therapy.  

So I think that this is at the moment what is going on in CML therapy. So we are trying really to not only transform what was previously an acute disease, although it was called chronic myeloid leukemia. But it was transforming very fast in an acute disease to a chronic disease. So we do not only want to achieve this goal but really wanted to cure our patients. And this is extremely important from the psychological point of view for the patients for their worth of life and also in terms of the costs of the therapy for this type of disease.

Andrew Schorr:

So the data is showing more powerful medicine to get a quicker response is a good reason to choose that medicine?

Dr. Saglio:

I think that this is from the theoretical point of view, but what we have to do in our days is adjust to use a more personalized approach so to decide patient by patient, which is the goal we want to achieve, which is the goal worthy to be achieved, and which is the best way to do it. So we have several choices, I would say traditional and more powerful TKIs. We have also the possibility or we are studying the possibility to integrate TKI therapy with other drugs. And, of course, I would say all our paradigm of the CML treatment is certainly becoming wider because we can use more drugs, and we have more options. And we adjust to select together but also with the patient, of course, which is the best option for a specific patients that we are facing. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay, so if I get this right, the patient and their doctor need to talk about their goals and their situation, and what are the best medicines to help them achieve that goal? 

Dr. Saglio:

Absolutely. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. 

Dr. Saglio:

Thank you very much.

Thank you so much. I wish I knew more Italian to say that, but again we’re bringing you the news the latest studies from ASH. And, as always, bring this information, bring questions to your doctor, so you get the treatment that’s right for you. We’re on location in San Francisco. And remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on April 10, 2015