Study explores new approach for leukemia
Trial at Banner MD Anderson opens for patients with AML
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Arizona
"This may be an option for patients who otherwise may not be able to reach remission through traditional treatments."


GILBERT – A new immunotherapy drug is under study at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center as a possible path to remission for some leukemia patients and ultimately, a better chance at a successful a bone marrow transplant.

The trial is open to eligible patients with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, a cancer of the bone marrow and blood.

“This may be an option for patients who otherwise may not be able to reach remission through traditional treatments,” said Rajneesh Nath, MD, Director of Stem Cell Transplant at Banner MD Anderson, who is leading the study at that facility.

Traditionally, senior patients cannot receive a stem-cell transplant until they are in remission from the disease. Researchers are studying the drug as a way to help bring more patients into remission so they can have the best chance at a successful bone marrow transplant.

The trial studies an intravenous drug, known as Iomab-B. It examines the effectiveness of the drug in targeting radiation to the bone marrow impacted by cancer. This approach targets both the cancer cells and the normal blood-producing stem cells in the bone marrow, creating space for the new bone marrow to grow and generate a new immune system, according to Susan Passalaqua, MD, Director of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging at Banner MD Anderson.

“We are pleased to be a part of a national trial investigating the potential of this drug,” said Tomislav Dragovich, MD, division chief of hematology and oncology and director of clinical research at Banner MD Anderson. “We’ve traditionally used total-body radiation or high doses of chemotherapy for these patients to bring them into remission. We want to understand if this new drug could be more effective in allowing us to kill more cancer cells while being less toxic to patients --- especially older patients who generally have difficulty tolerating high doses of radiation and chemotherapy.”

The Phase 3 trial is designed for patients over the age of 55 with an advanced form of AML who have refractory  disease, and who are not eligible for an allogeneic stem-cell transplant (in which stem cells are collected from a matching donor and transplanted into the patient).

An immunotherapeutic agent, lomab-B is one of many in clinical trials at Banner MD Anderson. Other immunotherapy trials are under way in lymphoma, colon cancer, melanoma, lung cancer and other malignancies.

To learn more about current clinical trials at Banner MD Anderson, call 480-440-7458 or contact

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, located on the Banner Gateway campus, delivers cancer care to patients in Arizona through the collaboration of Banner Health and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner MD Anderson offers focused disease-specific expertise in the medical, radiation and surgical management of the cancer patient; an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to patient care; access to clinical trials and new investigative therapies; state-of-the-art technology for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of all types of cancer; oncology expertise in supportive care services. For more information, visit

For further information: Corey Schubert -