Leukemia - Chronic Myeloid - CML: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about CML and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about CML, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Most cancer centers are actively involved in clinical trials aimed at increasing the number of people who are cured of CML. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

  • Improving current treatments.Research focused on increasing the effectiveness of CML treatments are listed below:

    • Combining imatinib with other drugs

    • Creating vaccines against BCR-ABL

    • Developing newer methods of stem cell transplantation aimed at decreasing the side effects

    • Evaluating other new TKIs for CML that does not respond to imatinib

    • Looking for unexpected long-term side effects

  • Treatment to target remaining CML cells. Several laboratory studies are focused on possible treatments that may help destroy the few remaining CML cells in most patients who have received TKIs so they can stop medical treatment. One method uses inhibitors of a protein called “smoothened” made by the SMO gene in combination with BCR-ABL TKIs.

  • Stopping TKIs. Researchers are also looking into the safety and effectiveness of stopping TKIs after a period of time, without affecting the patient’s health and cytogenetic status.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current CML treatments in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding CML, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

  • To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.

  • Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for leukemia. Please note that this link takes you to a separate ASCO website.

  • Visit the website of the Conquer Cancer Foundation to find out how to help support research for every cancer type. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website. 

The next section in this guide is Coping with Side Effects and it offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that CML and its treatment can bring. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.