AML in 2019 and Beyond
On 21 March 2019, the ALLG in conjunction with the VCCC hosted ‘AML in 2019 and Beyond’ at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
The event centred around current research in AML and future directions with special guest Prof Bob Lowenberg from the Netherlands (founder of HOVON and current Editor of Blood journal), who offered invaluable insight into abnormal biological features of leukaemia.
Hosted by Prof Andrew Roberts and A/Prof Andrew Wei, the event consisted of five distinct sessions, and included specific AML disease forums, including an ALLG-HOVON discussion, and whether the AML trials are answering the right questions.
Over 160 Haematologists, Scientists and Research Fellows attended the event with many suggesting that the day be expanded to all blood cancer disease groups.
An event feedback form was completed by a number of attendees with 100% saying the meeting met their expectation with over 50% giving an ‘Excellent’ rating of each of the five sessions. With almost 100% of responders suggesting holding the event again in 2020, they also suggested to hold similar events for MDS, ALL, paediatric AML. The venue and event organisation rated mostly ‘excellent’, with a few ‘good’ and a couple of ‘average to ‘poor’ ratings.
Some of the feedback included comments such as “I enjoyed everything, it was a fantastic program’, “There was a good balance of lab and clinical research’, and “Great job, I enjoyed it very much! Thanks for all of the hard work that went into this.”
During the event, Andrew Wei offered a number of insights as to the treatment landscape for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) – and hopefully patient outcomes in Australia over the next decade.
He stated, “I believe that treatments for AML are expected to change significantly over the next couple of years. There is enthusiasm to determine how the new drugs could best be used in clinical practice and what impact they will have on the biology of AML and patient outcomes.”
“We’re likely to see several of the other drugs come to Australia over the next couple of years so the implication of that is the treatment landscape will change quite dramatically over the next two or three years in this country.”
“There will be a greater level of personalisation of therapy because several of these medications are targeting specific mutations. Patients will need to have the mutation identified and then they will get a specific drug.”
“We are moving more into a precision medicine era whereas for the last 50 years we were basically just using the same chemotherapy drugs for everyone”, said Andrew.
An important theme to come out of the day was acknowledging what the next challenge in AML is, and how can we make further improvements in the outcome?