$1.62 million for rare cancer research

Image of blood vials in a laboratory

Finding new treatments for Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia

A University of Adelaide and SAHMRI study to test new treatments for a rare and neglected blood cancer, which has no known effective treatment, has been awarded $1,619,122 from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

The Phase II study into Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (CMML) will develop a comprehensive precision medicine approach to improve outcomes for patients, building on Phase I research. CMML is a particularly aggressive cancer with an overall survival of 28-32 months.

Associate Professor Daniel Thomas, from the Adelaide Medical School at the University of Adelaide says rare cancers are hard to study, but added together a number of people suffer from them, including a good friend of his.

“Exactly three years ago a close friend and Leukaemia Foundation fundraiser, Roland Gale, passed away on June 24 from this disease well before his time. Before he died, he impressed upon me the importance of research for CMML as there are no known targeted treatments,” Associate Professor Thomas said.

“This funding opportunity is a step toward a comprehensive cancer service for precision medicine in South Australia where every cancer patient is sequenced and matched to the right treatment.”Associate Professor Daniel Thomas, Adelaide Medical School, The University of Adelaide

“Our team has international expertise in precision medicine for another blood cancer, Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML); it is now time to apply what we have learnt to another rare but insidious type of blood cancer, CMML.

“Critical to our novel approach is cost-effective cancer sequencing services provided by SA Pathology integrating diagnostic testing and research for patients with cancer in South Australia.

“This trial is multi-pronged such that every patient is given access to a novel treatment matched according to their mutation profile and that the response is carefully monitored in a way that every time-point is telling us something.

“This funding opportunity is a step toward a comprehensive cancer service for precision medicine in South Australia where every cancer patient is sequenced and matched to the right treatment.

“We are perfectly positioned to study this disease because a comprehensive registry has been established by Dr Devendra Hiwase and his team at SAHMRI.”

The study – Precision Medicine for Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia: Phase II Trial Studying the Efficacy of Lenzilumab or High Dose Ascorbate plus Azacitidine Based on Molecular Profiling Compared to Risk-matched Historical Cohort – is a collaborative effort between the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

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