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Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center attract's many patients for our novel approaches to treatment. At the Kiimmel Cancer Center, we are conducting innovative clinical trials with new agents alone or in combination with other chemotherapy or biologic agents for all stages and all types of leukemias for adults. View our current leukemia clinical trials open at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
Top Leukemia Experts
Judy Karp, M.D., estimates she and her colleagues see 150-200 patients with newly diagnosed leukemias each year, and an equal number of patients with refractory leukemias that do not get better with treatment. Many patients have come to Hopkins with leukemias that other centers did not want to treat, or are resistant to traditional therapies.
Hopkins experts are pursuing a large number of innovative clinical trials with exciting new agents. For example, for patients with poor risk newly diagnosed with acute leukemias, Hopkins scientists are testing the investigational drug flavopiridol, a medicine that inhibits cell division, in combination with the potent anti-leukemia drugs Ara-C and mitoxantrone (FLAM).
In adults over age 70 with newly diagnosed or previously untreated AML, Dr. Karp and her colleagues at the Mayo Clinic and Cornell are combining the novel enzyme inhibitor tipifarnib with the chemotherapy agent etoposide. This combination is producing durable remissions with several patients for three to five years or more.
In adults with ALL, Dr. Hetty Carraway has started a new trial combining the drug clofarabine, which is directly toxic to cancer cells, with the histone deacetylase inhibitor entinostat to modify gene expression. Dr. Pat Brown is starting a trial combining imatinib with entinostat for Philadelphia-chromosome positive ALLs (Ph-ALL).
Overall, leukemia research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is focused on several areas of study:
- Signal Transduction –
Scientists are studying how leukemia cells transmit signals to each other to communicate and regulate cell processes. Breaking this chain of communication, most likely using several therapies, may halt the cancer’s growth and spread. Drugs under investigation include tipifarnib; FLT-3 inhibitors such as CEP-701, KW-2449, sorafenib and AC220; and bevacizumab.
- Cell Cycle Regulation/Apoptosis –
The life cycle of a cell can be manipulated to either live longer or die sooner. Investigators at Johns Hopkins are studying mechanisms to cut short the lifespan of leukemia cells by using drugs in combination with chemotherapy, such as flavopiridol or SNS-595.
- DNA Repair –
In response to onslaughts of chemotherapy drugs, leukemia cells can mutate and become resistant to these therapies. Agents under investigation to block leukemia cells’ ability to repair themselves are triapine, clofarabine, ABT-888 and SCH90076.
- Differentiation/Gene Expression –
At the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, scientists are studying the cellular and genetic mechanisms that lead to cancer development. Drugs that target those mechanisms, such as entinostat, SAHA, 5-azacytidine, and ATRA, may aid existing therapies and are being tested at Johns Hopkins.
- Immunology –
Johns Hopkins scientists are developing therapies that may help the body’s immune system fight cancer. Pioneered by basic science and clinical immunology experts at Johns Hopkins, such therapies, including vaccines, which target specific aspects of leukemia cells, are being developed for acute and chronic myelogenous leukemias.