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February 2018 (Vol. 28 Issue 11)

Leukemia:

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Leukemia: image

Oncologists have for the first time tested a therapy other than chemotherapy to treat leukemia, and it worked

Oncologists have for the first time tested a therapy other than chemotherapy to treat leukemia, and it worked. But it wasn't another toxic, debilitating chemical that they turned to - it was vitamin A.
This simple therapy - which involved wrapping vitamin A inside bubbles of fat - reversed a rare form of leukemia in up to a third of patients.
The key to the new therapy seems to be the delivery mechanism. When it's put in a lipid carrier, it retains its potency whereas earlier trials of vitamin A as an anti-carcinogen found that little of the vitamin was being absorbed by the body when it was taken orally.
Not surprisingly, it's been patented, and is being licensed as the 'drug' Lipo-Atra, even though it is essentially a form of vitamin A known as Atra, which was originally found to help leukemia patients in studies in China.
It's been tested on a group of 34 patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), 10 of whom have been in remission for an average of five years, despite never having had chemotherapy.
Lead researcher Dr Elihu Estey at Texas University's Department of Leukemia said: "This is the first time we have seen patients with an acute leukemia potentially cured without use of chemotherapy. That's an important development in the field of leukemia, because traditional treatment with chemotherapy often produces side effects, even death, in patients with different kinds of leukemia than the one studied here." He said it.


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