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NEW TREATMENT FOR ADULT LEUKEMIA

Armed with a new study, a group of Boston researchers are recommending a treatment change for patients with the most common type of adult leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia or AML. An estimated 10,000 Americans have the disease, and with traditional treatment, 25 percent to 30 percent survive five years or longer.

In traditional chemotherapy for AML, physicians administer the two drugs daunorubicin and cytarabine for one week. In the new study, researchers added a higher dose of one of the drugs, cytarabine, for three additional days.The change improved the five-year survival rate to 55 percent for the 94 patients in the study. The research was done at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Community Health Plan, New England Medical Center and Beth Israel Hospital and reported in the current issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

- Usha Lee McFarling, The Boston Glove