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A drug which 'can kill leukaemia' discovered

health-and-fitness Updated: Nov 04, 2009 01:31 IST

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In a major breakthrough, European scientists claim to have discovered a new drug which can cure leukaemia or blood cancer.

A team, led by Trinity College Dublin, has come out with the drug, called PBOX-15, which can destroy cancerous cells in adult patients with a poor prognosis and those who've shown resistance to other treatments.

Lead scientist Professor Mark Lawler of TCD's School of Medicine said the research was "at an early stage" and it could be another three to five years before the drug is used as a life saving treatment, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

"Now we have to move it on to see if there are any side effects and bring it forward as a potential therapy for patients. But it's very exciting. We want to give hope to cancer patients," he was quoted as saying.

According to the scientists, the PBOX-15 attacked and broke down the skeleton in leukaemia cells in samples given by patients in their research.

It was also successful when used in the treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL), a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow which is the most common leukaemia in the western world in adults.

The scientists said PBOX- 15 was more effective than the current medication, fludarabine, used to treat the disease and also killed CLL cells that were resistant to treatment.

John McCormack, of the Irish Cancer Society, said the findings of the study published in the 'Cancer Research' journal, had to be brought from the laboratory to the bedside.

"The findings that are being published today emphasise the potential for basic science discoveries to translate to clinical benefit. These now need to be brought from the lab to the bedside so that they will ultimately benefit patients with this common form of leukaemia," he said.