Leukemia Drug Development Continues to Progress

Ellen Scharaga is an operational consultant with Alegria Specialty Pharmacy who focuses on developing specialty drugs that enable chronic condition management for hepatitis C, organ transplants, HIV, and multiple sclerosis. Active with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Ellen Scharaga follows developments in that area of health care research.

Leukemia is a highly aggressive disease of the bone marrow that causes abnormal leukocytes to be produced within blood-forming organs. More than 60,000 cases identified each year, but leukemia is often curable with early diagnosis. Available techniques include intensification therapy and bone marrow transplant, as well as preventative therapy.

One novel approach presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting in June 2022 focuses on the intramuscular recombinant Erwinia chrysanthemi. This is a therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoma patients who have developed sensitivity to L-asparaginase, an E. coli-derived therapeutic. The Children’s Oncology Group study reveals that the drug has a positive benefit-risk profile over a 3-week dosing schedule. This is consistent with the majority of asparaginases and broadens the potential therapies available to children and adults living with leukemia and lymphoma.