The use of the immune system to treat patients with AML is being heavily pursued as a strategy to more effectively fight AML and give patients with relapsed or refractory disease a better chance at achieving remission or a cure.
Immunotherapy in the form of allogeneic stem cell transplant has been a foundation of curative therapy in AML since the 1970s. While the effectiveness and tolerability of stem cell transplant has improved over the years, significant limitations still exist, warranting the development of new and improved immunotherapy options.
In this show, we are very fortunate to have Dr. John Reagan, an AML expert from Rhode Island Hospital, to talk with us about what steps you can take if you have relapsed or refractory AML. He will be discussing what immunotherapy is, it’s current use in AML and his open clinical trial looking at whether the FDA approved drug Gemtuzumab, followed by an infusion of blood cells called leukocytes from a donor, can stimulate the immune system to potentially fight AML.
Board-certified in hematology and medical oncology, Dr. Reagan serves as the Director of Hematology at Rhode Island Hospital. His practice consists of treating acute myeloid leukemia patients along with other blood cancers and non-cancerous blood disorders. He has been practicing at Rhode Island Hospital since 2013. His current research focuses on awakening a patient's own immune system cells to recognize and target their blood cancer. This project is termed "Nonegraftment Donor Leukocyte Infusions for Refractory Hematological Malignancies". The central aspect of this project is a clinical trial in which white blood cells taken from a relative are transfused into patients with leukemia or lymphoma that have not responded to traditional therapies.
As a complement to his clinical and research roles, Dr. Reagan is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University.
Dr. Reagan is a member of the National Cancer Institute Older Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia Working Group and a member of the Microtransplantation Interest Group. He currently holds memberships with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society of Hematology and American Association of Cancer Research.
Thanks to our episode sponsor, AbbVie
about the author
Katie joined the HealthTree Foundation as the Community Director for AML in 2021. She is a registered dietitian who previously worked at the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas where she coached veterans with blood cancer on how to use nutrition to improve their treatment outcomes and minimize cancer-related side effects. Katie is passionate about health education and patient empowerment. In her spare time, she loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, spend time running outdoors and travel to new places.