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Drug combo treats type of leukemia without chemotherapy

Dr. Haneen Abdella, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, said the combo of all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide was highly effective in children with standard-risk promyelocytic leukemia.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A recent study found that a drug combination may help children with a specific type of leukemia avoid chemotherapy.

Dr. Haneen Abdella, a pediatric hematologist-oncologist with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, said the drug combo of all-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide was highly effective in children with standard-risk promyelocytic leukemia, or APL.

“Chemotherapy, as we know, has significant toxicities and long term toxicity is what we worry about, cardiac effects, infertility and with APL, one of the big things we worried about was cardiac effects for the future so if we can remove that chemotherapy and give them these targeted therapies, yes there are some side effects that can occur, but they’re so much less, so much less severe,” she said.

Abdella said nearly all patients in the trial survived for two years without experiencing a relapse of APL.

Earlier autism diagnosis

And a new report shows kids are getting diagnosed with autism at an earlier age.

The report by the CDC showed children were more than 50% likely to be diagnosed by age 4 in 2018 compared to 2014.

CDC researchers said the earlier kids get identified, the sooner they can access the programs they need to help their development.

The CDC report showed autism rates varied in different states but remained similar across ethnic and racial lines.

Florida, Maryland and Rhode Island are three states with the lowest rates in the country.


About the Author:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.