Incorporating Precision BH3 Warheads Into the Offensive Against Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Michael R. Savona, MD; Andrew H. Wei, MBBS, PhD


J Clin Oncol. 2019;37(21):1785-1789. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Patients correctly think of cytotoxic chemotherapy as instruments of mass destruction, destroying leukemic blasts but also causing unintended collateral damage to normal hematopoietic cells and tissues. Cytarabine- and anthracycline-based therapy have been the backbone of treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) for almost 50 years. For the majority of patients with AML who are elderly, however, clinical gains have been limited by lower disease responsiveness and increased complications associated with cytotoxic treatment. There has long been a pressing need for more selective smart bombs able to engage targets strongly represented in leukemic and progenitor cells, with activity extended beyond just actively dividing leukemic cells and minor subsets of the disease, while sparing innocent bystander tissues in the attack.