“Acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes represent one of the new challenges of Humanitas Cancer Center. These are extremely important diseases that are likely to heal and have a truly remarkable innovation in progress,” said Professor Armando Santoro, Director of Humanitas Cancer Center.
“They are being characterized as diseases of the elderly population and we must keep in mind that today 2 patients out of 3 are more than 70 years of age at diagnosis. The first critical point in the approach to these diseases is that we need to greatly improve the provision of care for elderly patients who certainly cannot support the intensive regimes with which we have achieved good results with younger patients,” emphasizes Professor Matteo Della Porta, Head of the Leukemia and Myelodisplasia Section in Humanitas.
A multidisciplinary diagnostic framework
“Acute leukemias are biologically extremely heterogeneous diseases and it is therefore very important to understand the main characteristics of the disease from the outset. At Humanitas we have developed a multidisciplinary diagnostic framework and we aim to implement the study of the individual genome through the next generation sequencing technique, which will allow us to have a more effective, more precise and deeper diagnostic framework and to have a targeted and individual therapeutic approach for every patient suffering from acute leukemia,” adds Dr. Lucio Morabito, assistant in the leukemia and myelodisplasia section.
Clinical studies and new drugs
“Given the criticality of the disease, it is necessary to use innovative clinical studies; Humanitas is equipped with a high quality structure that makes it possible to offer complex clinical trials in all phases of experimentation. We are therefore able to offer new drugs aimed at the individual molecular defect of each patient, including elderly and refractory patients,” says Dr. Marianna Rossi, assistant in the leukemia and myelodysplasia department.
Allogeneic stem cell transplantation
“Allogeneic stem cell transplantation remains one of the fundamental options in the treatment of acute leukemia; at Humanitas we are able to offer this procedure to a greater number of patients, extending the age to 70 years. Moreover, thanks to the introduction of new drugs in recent years, it is possible to extend the donation to 50% compatible family members and therefore not only siblings, but also parents, children and cousins,” explains Dr. Stefania Bramanti, assistant in hematology in the department of marrow transplantation.
“With the intensive expansion in acute leukemia and myelodysplasia we will complete the competitiveness of hematology, which is already well advanced in both lymphomas and multiple myeloma,” Professor Armando Santoro concluded.
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