David Cade was told he had two weeks to live. Eight days later doctors could not find any trace of leukemia in his body.
Dawn Cade is David’s wife. She says, “He just went to bed. So I knew he was really sick.”
Diagnosed with AML, doctors said at 71, David wouldn’t survive traditional high-intensive chemotherapy.
Oncologist Dan Pollyea did have one option. An FDA approved clinical trial testing a low dose chemo combined with the pill venetoclax, a drug that targets leukemia stem cells.
Dr. Pollyea says, “We’ve never seen a drug work like this, to target any type of cancer cell, let alone a stem cell.”
The drug kills a protein called BCL two. This protein feeds the leukemia stem cells when it dies, so does the stem cell.
Dr. Pollyea says, “This is a completely new way to kill a cancer.”
Before venetoclax only a minority of older patients would respond to their therapies. with this new treatment, over 70 percent achieve a remission.
Dave received the treatment. eight days later.
Cade says, “He says we can’t find it. It’s not in your body.”
The CU cancer hematology teams believe this new approach to killing cancer could destroy other tumor types including breast, pancreatic and colon.
There are two clinical trials enrolling patients right now, including the very first one for younger AML patients.