Marina Konopleva, MD, PhD, Director, Leukemia Program, Co-Director, Blood Cancer Institute, Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center, and Professor, Oncology and Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, is a leader in research into acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive cancer that occurs when malignant hematopoietic (new blood-forming) cells repopulate bone marrow and don’t mature into healthy platelets or blood cells. While treatment options for younger AML patients have improved, survival remains generally poor for people in their mid-60s and up.
Dr. Konopleva’s breakthrough work is offering new hope, however.
She discovered that a targeted therapy combining venetoclax (a drug that works on specific cancer cells) with low-dose chemotherapies could extend survival for people newly diagnosed with AML. HMA/venetoclax treatment was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2020 and has quickly become the standard of care for all AML patients.
“I’m extremely proud of what we have accomplished,” said Dr. Konopleva.