Irish patient in world-first trial to halt blood cancer
An Irish blood cancer patient has become the first in the world to take part in a new drug trial.
The clinical trial, looking at a new medicine called GMI-1271, is being run by Blood Cancer Network Ireland.
The patient in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, is under the supervision of consultant haematologist Dr John Quinn and has multiple myeloma, which arises when a type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow become cancerous.
Around 250 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma every year in Ireland, while 170 die of the disease annually.
Blood Cancer Network Ireland is a €2.7m cancer research initiative funded by the Irish Cancer Society and Science Foundation Ireland.
The drug was first tested in Ireland, the US and Australia in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and early results are very promising.
In both acute myeloid leukaemia and multiple myeloma, some of the cancer cells can hide out in the bone marrow, rendering chemotherapy less effective. The cells in these 'sanctuary sites' survive and then go on to multiply again, causing the patient to relapse.
If successful, GMI-1271 will prevent or delay this relapse.