New way to tailor treatment of acute myologic leukaemia

8 October 2020

Ulrik Kihlbom

Ulrik Kihlbom

Using biomedical analyses, a new algorithm, and patients’ preferences, researchers in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Finland and Sweden will spend 3 years developing new treatments for acute myologic leukaemia, a type of cancer where personalised treatment has not previously been available.

Patients suffering from acute myologic leukaemia (AML) respond very differently to available treatments. Now, researchers in the multidisciplinary project MEET-AML, funded by the Swedish Research Council, hope to be able to tailor treatment for individual patients with the aid of a new algorithm targeting vulnerabilities in cancerous cells using -omics-data.

But it’s not just the vulnerabilities in the leukaemia cells the researchers are interested in. MEET-AML will also develop ways of integrating patient preferences into clinical decision-making, what they want and how they make benefit-risk trade-offs, into the personalised treatment. Ulrik Kihlbom, Docent and Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics at Uppsala University’s Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics, is leading the work at Uppsala University.

Ulrik Kihlbom and his team received 4.34 million Swedish Krona (SEK) from the Swedish Research Council for their part in MEET-AML. The project is part of a transnational effort issued by ERA PerMed, an ERA-Net cofounding programme where 31 research funding organisations from different countries join forces to align national research strategies, promote excellence and reinforce competitiveness of European players in personalised medicine as well as strengthen European collaboration with non-EU countries.

“Right now, everyone wants to listen to the patient voice. Almost everyone agrees this is important, both in decision-making and clinical practice. But as we are listening, it’s also important to remember to listen in the right way and at the right time”, says Ulrik Kihlbom.

Simply stating that we should listen to patients is easy. In practice, this issue is more complex. Patients don’t speak with one voice. And what patient want may not always be what’s best for them.

“We look forward to interesting research questions stemming from this collaboration, but also to contributing our expertise to this big, multidisciplinary European project”, says Ulrik Kihlbom.

Anna Holm