Leukemia pill cuts death risks by 36% for 21,000 people with a hard-to-treat ...

A newly FDA-approved leukemia drug lowers death risks by more than a third for patients whose cancers came back or were never fully cured, a new study reveals.

Over 21,000 Americans are diagnosed with a form of the cancer called acute myeloid leukemia (AML) annually, and about half of them have relapses of the disease.

Their best chance at a cure is a bone marrow transplant, but it only cures between 25 and 50 percent of patients - if they even survive long enough to receive the live-saving stem cells.

But in November 2018, the Food and Drug Administration approved targeted drug called gilteritinib to treat these patients, and a new University of Pennsylvania study found that it gives them better odds at surviving longer.

A new drug for recurrent acute myeloid leukemia (AML, pictured), called gilteritinib, gives patients a 36 percent lower risk of dying from the hard-to-treat cancer, a new study found

A new drug for recurrent acute myeloid leukemia (AML, pictured), called gilteritinib, gives patients a 36 percent lower risk of dying from the hard-to-treat cancer, a new study found   

'We're very excited about the survivals we've seen,' lead study author Dr Alexander Perl, a professor of oncology and hematology at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine told Daily Mail Online.

He and his research team treated patients with a certain genetic mutation that makes their AML more likely to recur and harder to treat.

The three-year survival rate for people who have this kind of leukemia - FLT3-ITD positive AML - is just 44 percent.

A treatment specific to this subset of AML, approved in 2017, has helped to keep the cancer in check, but hasn't proven to be a cure.

The drug 'can really help, but as a single agent, it

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