An experimental pill has achieved the complete remission of cancer in 18 near-terminal patients with aggressive tumors that did not respond to treatments. The illness, acute myeloid leukemia, is the most common blood cancer in adults, accounting for 120,000 cases each year. The three-year survival rate is just 25%. The new drug, called revumenib, has completely eliminated cancer in a third of the participants in a long-awaited clinical study in the United States. The results are preliminary and do not suggest a definitive cure, but the authors of the experiment are optimistic. “We think this pharmaceutical is extraordinarily effective, and we hope for it to be accessible to everyone who needs it,” says Dr. Ghayas Issa from the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas.
Acute myeloid leukemia attacks bone marrow, where blood cells are produced, and causes the uncontrolled production of defective cells. That’s what happened to the 23-year-old Lithuanian architect Algimante Daugeliate. She had received two bone marrow transplants from her sister. All other treatments had failed. Her doctors had begun thinking about palliative care to alleviate her suffering. “I was desperate. It was like living through a horrible movie. I felt like death was imminent, and I was just 21 years old,” she recalls. Two years ago, she started to take revumenib pills. She finished college, and now she works at an architecture studio in Copenhagen.