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New Treatment Significantly Improves Chances of Babies With Acute Leukemia

A new study led by Dutch researchers from the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology showed that a drug called blinatumomab, which stimulates the immune system to clear up cancer cells, could significantly improve the survival chance of babies with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Of the babies who received the drug in combination with chemotherapy, 93 percent were still alive two years after diagnosis, compared to 66 percent with chemotherapy alone. Blinatumomab works on two fronts by clinging to a surface protein called CD-19 found in leukemia cells and binding to an immune cell, a T cell, which then deals a fatal blow to the leukemia cell. A second, more extensive study involving 160 babies with ALL in 27 countries is already underway due to the remarkable results.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba

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