Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at imatinib after a mini transplant for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)
This trial was looking at the drug imatinib (Glivec) after a reduced intensity stem cell transplant to see if it helped this type of transplant work better for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML).
Doctors sometimes treat CML with a stem cell transplant. People have a high dose of chemotherapy before the transplant. The treatment has many side effects, and is not suitable for everyone.
There is a new type of treatment being looked at for CML, called a reduced intensity transplant. Some doctors also call this a mini transplant. The mini transplant uses a different combination of drugs before the transplant, and has fewer side effects.
Doctors still do not know if the mini transplant would work as well as a high dose stem cell transplant in stopping CML from coming back. In this trial, people took the drug imatinib after their mini transplant. Doctors already knew that imatinib was a very good treatment for CML, and they wanted to find out if it helped the mini transplant work better.
The aim of this trial was to find out if taking imatinib for a year after a mini transplant lowered the chance of CML coming back. And to find out more about the side effects of this combination of treatments.
Summary of results
The researchers found that imatinib after a mini transplant increased the amount of time before CML came back. And there was a low risk of side effects with this combination of treatment.
The researchers were able to look at the results of 21 of the 22 people recruited to this trial.
After their transplant everyone took imatinib for 1 year. Tests after finishing imatinib showed that 7 people had no sign of CML.
The most common side effect of imatinib was feeling or being sick.
Of the 21 people, 15 had CML come back after their transplant. The average amount of time it took to come back was 17 months. After more treatment 10 of the 15 had no sign of CML.
After the transplant only 1 person had Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) as a complication. After further treatment when CML came back, 2 people had GVHD.
Out of the 21 people 19 were alive at least 3 years after treatment.
The researchers concluded that this combination of treatment worked well for people having a mini transplant. And there was a low risk of side effects or complications.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Charles Craddock
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)