Beat AML: Promising outcomes for seniors with acute myeloid leukemia

Robert Collins, M.D. with senior patient
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is difficult to treat in seniors, but new research shows promising outcomes.

A groundbreaking trial has the potential to change the future of treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients age 60 and older. UT Southwestern, along with colleagues at seven other academic medical centers and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, is enrolling patients 60 and older with newly diagnosed AML in the Master Protocol for Biomarker-Based Treatment of AML (Beat AML) trial.

Working at the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in North Texas, UT Southwestern physicians see approximately 1,000 new patients each year with diagnosed hematologic malignancies such as AML. In adults, AML typically results in grim outcomes. The disease develops quickly and, as patients age, becomes increasingly difficult to treat.

Nationally, physicians have relied on chemotherapy regimens that have remained unchanged for 40 years and, frankly, are ineffective. The goal of the Beat AML trial is to swiftly and effectively integrate proven science into the clinical setting to improve patient outcomes.

Who is eligible for the Beat AML trial?

Patients must be 60 or older and newly diagnosed with AML. Patients will receive rapid molecular testing and will be assigned an intravenous or oral therapy based on their AML molecular subtype. The study also includes a “marker-negative” arm to ensure all patients are assigned treatment.

Research physicians will measure the effectiveness of rapid genomic AML screening followed by assignment to novel molecular-targeted and immunologic therapies tailored to a patient’s molecular subtype. Patients who respond to therapies might continue their course of care or transition to other therapies, including reduced-intensity bone marrow transplants. Early results have been extremely promising, with the potential for complete and ongoing remission in aging adults. 

We anticipate opening the trial to younger patients in coming months, as well as incorporating combination therapies. To refer a patient, contact our AML hotline at 844-508-0625 or visit utswmedicine.org/beatAML.

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