When it comes to the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), one type of therapy has taken center stage: tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).
CML occurs because of a type of genetic mutation known as a chromosomal translocation, in which parts of two chromosomes switch places; in this case, the translocation takes place in chromosomes 22 and 9, forming what is known as the Philadelphia chromosome. This mutation gives rise to the BCR-ABL “fusion” gene, which produces the BCR-ABL fusion protein. The result is that tyrosine kinase (enzymatic) activity goes into overdrive, causing CML.
TKIs work because they tamp down that overactivity. Once started, these drugs are given indefinitely. Now, experts are exploring whether TKIs can be stopped in CML patients without the risk ...
Photo courtesy of Peggy Thomas