OHSU cancer collaborative database seeks new therapies for acute myeloid leukemia

Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, was the study’s co-corresponding author and among the researchers who led the effort to bring this wealth of data to the research and clinical communities. (OHSU)

A five-year study of a deadly form of leukemia by researchers at OHSU and numerous other institutions may lead to better treatment options.

Less than 25 percent of patients with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, survive beyond five years.

It's the largest such study of its kind.

“We really wanted to understand how to deliver better therapies for AML patients,” said Jeff Tyner, associate professor of cell, developmental and cancer biology in the OHSU School of Medicine and researcher with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. “Unfortunately, there’s been very little improvement for patients for decades.”

Tyner said having specific information from tumor cells and how they responded to different therapies is what made the study unique.

The study collected tumor and tissue samples from nearly 700 patients, as researchers looked to find out how various cancer cells responded to drugs in the laboratory.

There was so much data the team developed new software called "Vizome" in order for researchers to visualize the data.

“We really think about it in terms of knowledge extraction, you know, how can we learn from this?” said Shannon McWeeney, professor and head of bioinformatics and computational biology in the OHSU School of Medicine and an OHSU Knight Cancer Institute researcher. “This is attempting to make this work accessible and be able to find meaning - we see ourselves as kind of a bridge, or connector.”

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