Cancer is a complex disease to begin with, but as it evolves in response to treatment, it becomes even more so, making it all the more difficult to eliminate. To increase remission and survival rates, we need a more personalized approach to therapeutic development.
Two years ago, the FDA approved a drug for older or unfit patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) called venetoclax. Despite promising responses, with 67% of patients going into remission based on one study in 2018, primary therapy resistance and adaptive resistance is still a problem for many AML patients.
Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Monash University in Melbourne, Australia sought to gain insight into clinically relevant genomic factors influencing treatment outcome among patients receiving these venetoclax-based combination therapies. The researchers utilized Mission Bio’s Tapestri Platform to analyze a subset of cancerous cells at the single-cell level, taking a deeper, more granular look at how each cell evolved and responded to therapy. The findings were published in Blood of The American Society of Hematology, the world’s largest professional society working to conquer blood diseases.
Leveraging the single-cell approach, the researchers identified patterns of therapy response not previously documented. Through the unique sensitivity of the Tapestri Platform, the team discovered multiple resistant subclones evolving during treatment, which acted as a barrier to the long-term success of targeted therapies.
The study highlights clinically relevant, existent and therapy-driven mutations that will impact future treatment strategies and combination approaches. These researchers predict that new drugs and combinations, risk stratification, precision-based monitoring, and molecularly guided risk-adaptive therapy will be the new norm for older patients, who previously had few effective treatment options.
At Mission Bio, we’re helping researchers achieve the promise of precision medicine, one cell at a time. We’re thrilled to continue to see meaningful discoveries in single-cell genomics translated to the clinic, where a real difference can be made in patient care and ultimate outcomes.