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New drug combo gives hopes to blood cancer patients

Melbourne researchers hope to find a cure for advanced blood cancer, after patients in a clinical trial showed improvement when two drugs were used in tandem.

A team from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre discovered sufferers fared significantly better when taking everolimus and CX-5461 together.

Everolimus is commonly used for other cancers, while CX-5461 is used to treat incurable blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

“CX-5461 targets a particular process that is required for cancer cell survival,” the centre’s Cancer Signalling Laboratory Head Rick Pearson said.

“Our experiments show that adding everolimus synergistically strengthens this attack, more rapidly and more effectively eradicating the killer disease.”

Results from the clinical trial have convinced researchers they are on the right track, and hopes are high for a breakthrough soon.

“This novel therapy works to inhibit ribosomes’ protein production capability, effectively starving the cancer cells of a key ingredient they need to survive and proliferate,” Professor Pearson said.

“By adding everolimus to this treatment, we have shown the potential for even more powerful results.”

More than 12,000 Australians are diagnosed with blood cancer every year.

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