Researchers discover new effective drug combination for pediatric T-acute leukemia

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

June 20, 2022 -- A joint study by Tampere University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute discovered a new combination of drugs that is effective against T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), an aggressive malignant neoplasm of the bone marrow.

The combination of two drugs (dasatinib and temsirolimus) was more effective in eradicating leukemia cells in cell culture, zebrafish, and mouse models than using a single drug (dasatinib).

"During this study, we developed a new drug screening method for the rapid assessment of drug responses in zebrafish leukemia samples. In this screen, an effective drug combination was found, which was later confirmed by several cell line models, patient samples, and human leukemias grown in mice," said Saara Laukkanen, PhD, a researcher at University of Tampere and the first author of the study.

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