VCS helped lead the way in bringing the promising new therapy gilteritinib to patients with aggressive Acute Leukemia. Alex Spira, MD, PhD, FACP, the VCS director of Research, was the practice’s principal investigator for the therapy’s phase I study. This new therapy targets FLT3 mutation, which causes rapid proliferation and shorter overall survival in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Gilteritinib is now approved to treat relapsed and refractory acute myelogenous leukemia patients.
“With further understanding of the molecular footprint of cancers including acute myelogenous leukemia, we can tailor more targeted options that drive cancers to become aggressive and difficult to control,” said Dr. Dipti Patel-Donnelly, a VCS medical oncologist.
The FLT3 mutation is seen in approximately 20% of patients with myelogenous leukemia that can now be targeted. Based on this research, further studies are ongoing to assess its safety and effectiveness in other avenues.
“It’s an exciting time at Virginia Cancer Specialists in our phase 1 research program,” explained Dr. Spira. “It’s been an honor to participate in the development and offering of these novel therapy options to patients with aggressive AML, giving a diversity of choices that haven’t been there in quite some time.”
“In a disease that has had the same backbone of chemotherapy for 30 years, new targeted agents offer another tool in the fight against leukemia,” noted Dr. Patel-Donnelly.
Virginia Cancer Specialists is very proud of its high-level clinical research program that allows for pivotal studies in treatment options to further improve patient care. Five new targeted agents have been approved by the FDA in the last several years, giving more options for greater personalized care to patients in local communities in Northern Virginia.