Research into CML

Researchers around the world are looking at improving the treatment of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).

Go to Cancer Research UK’s clinical trials database if you are looking for a trial for CML in the UK. You need to talk to your specialist if there are any trials that you think you might be able to take part in.

Some of the trials on this page have now stopped recruiting people. It takes time before the results are available. This is because the trial team follow the patients for a period of time and collect and analyse the results. We have included this ongoing research to give examples of the type of research being carried out in CML.

Research and clinical trials

All cancer treatments must be fully researched before they can be used for everyone. This is so we can be sure that:

  • they work
  • they work better than the treatments already available
  • they are safe


The main treatment for CML is a group of targeted cancer drug called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).

Targeted cancer drugs

Doctors currently use imatinib, nilotinib, dasatinib, bosutinib and ponatinib to treat CML. Researchers continue to look into these drugs to improve treatment results.

Trials are looking at:

  • trying new TKIs such as asciminib and vodobatinib
  • finding out if one of the TKIs is better than the others as a first treatment for CML
  • trying these TKIs in children and young adults
  • learning more about the dose and side effects
  • finding out more about having a treatment break

T-cell therapy

Researchers are looking at new types of treatment that use cells in your immune system called T-cells.

In these treatments, researchers take some T cells from your blood and modify them in the laboratory. They then give you back the modified T cells which attack the leukaemia cells.

Quality of life

Having a blood cancer can cause symptoms, and the treatment can have side effects. These symptoms and side effects can affect your quality of life.

Researchers want to find out how symptoms and  treatment affect quality of life for people with blood cancers. They want to create a new questionnaire about this for people with blood cancers.

  • Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up
    A. Hochhaus and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2017. Volume 28, Supplement 4, Pages 41-51

  • Chronic myeloid leukaemia
    J Cortes and others
    Lancet 2021, Volume 398, issue 10314, pages 1914-1926

  • Discontinuation of dasatinib or nilotinib in chronic myeloid leukemia: interim analysis of the STOP 2G-TKI study
    D Rea and others
    Blood, 2017. Volume 129, Issue 7, Pages 846-854

  • When to Stop Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
    P Laneuville
    Current Treatment Options in Oncology, 2018. Volume 19, Issue 3

  • Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Database
    Accessed July 2022

  • Clinical database
    Accessed July 2022

Last reviewed: 
21 Jul 2022
Next review due: 
21 Jul 2025

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