Researchers at Salisbury District Hospital have played a key role in a life changing study that will improve the way patients are treated for a rare form of blood cancer called chronic myeloid leukaemia.
Chronic myeloid leukaemia is a slowly progressing blood and bone marrow disease that affects around 1,000 new patients a year in the UK.
Patients who were diagnosed with this incurable disease were given a life changing tablet to manage their condition in the 1990s and 17 years later many of these patients are still alive. However, the medication needs to be taken lifelong and can cause a number of unpleasant side effects.
The Salisbury team were involved in new research to reduce the dosage. Of the 174 patients throughout the UK who took part in the study, 162 showed no evidence of leukaemia returning one year later. For the remaining 12 who showed signs of a recurrence in the condition, all went into remission within four months of resuming their original dose.
Dr Jonathan Cullis, Consultant Haematologist and study lead for Salisbury said: “This is a real boost for our team here in Salisbury and excellent news for patients, as well as a potential cost saving for the NHS. Over the last two decades they have gone from having a potentially incurable disease requiring lifelong and toxic chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation, to just one single tablet a day. Now we have been able to reduce the dosage, giving them a much better quality of life and a normal life expectancy. The aim now is to see whether we are able to stop the drug completely, and this is the next phase of the ongoing research study.”