Possible new approach to treating deadly form of blood cancer

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A ground breaking clinical trial is underway at Baptist Health’s Miami Cancer Institute.

Dr. Guenther Koehne, Deputy Director and Chief of Blood and Marrow Transplant at the institute is looking at a new approach to treating and potentially extending survival rates for acute myeloid leukemia or AML, one of the deadliest and most aggressive blood cancers.

Genetic engineering is being used to hopefully protect healthy cells from toxic therapies.

“What we are trying to do here is silence the normal expression or the expression of the normal marker on hematopoietic stem cells to target specifically the acute myeloid leukemia cells with drugs that will then allow us to proceed with maintenance treatment, and hopefully achieve a longer lasting remission,” he said.

Koehne’s efforts are part of a nationwide clinical that, if successful, could reshape how AML and other blood cancers are treated.

Highly invasive stem cell transplants are currently the last line of therapy, yet 40 percent of patients still relapse.

Also in today’s health news, a combined drop in both walking speed and cognitive function has been tied to an increased risk of dementia; that according to a study Of 17,000 older adults.

Dementia risk was highest in people who had slower gait speeds coupled with lower memory score over time.

The findings, published in “Jama Open Network” suggest the gait evaluations should become part of routine examines to improve the care of older patients.

About the Authors:

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

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.