Cancer is a top cause of death each year — and even though treatments are getting better, the hope for a cure still remains out of reach.
Researchers might have taken a big step in the right direction, however, with the introduction of revumenib. This experimental drug is administered in pill form and early evidence shows that roughly 30% of patients with terminal leukemia are completely cured after taking it.
What doctors are saying
A study touting the efficacy of this pill explains that it works by preventing menin (a protein that causes blood cells to become cancerous) from forming.
Dr. Ghayas Issa, who was one of the study’s authors, noted that “about half” of the patients who participated in the trial saw leukemia cells vanish from their bone marrow.
“We’re incredibly hopeful by these results of patients that received this drug,” the doctor said. “This was their last chance.”
About 53% responded positively to revumenib, including nearly one-third who experienced complete remission.
It’s not for everyone
The reason that nearly half of the patients do not see these positive results from the pill is that it only treats a particular type of leukemia caused by malfunctioning genes or fused chromosomes.
In those cases, revumenib offers a new lease on life.
Algimante Daugeliate was one of those patients who began taking the drug about two years ago. Now, she’s a healthy 23-year-old who has been able to graduate from college and begin her career as an architect.
“I was desperate,” she said. “It was like living through a horrible movie. I felt like death was imminent, and I was just 21 years old.”
For those who responded to the drug but did not experience complete remission, following up with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant has proven an effective follow-up treatment.