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DNA Drug Offers Leukemia Hope

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LONDON, Oct 20, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- British scientists say they've developed a new drug that can dramatically slow the progression of leukemia in mice.

The BBC said the drug differs from existing treatments in that it uses leukemia DNA to help the immune system identify and target cancer cells.

Writing in the journal Nature Medicine, the scientists said the drug, developed by Dr. Rose Ann Padua and colleagues at Kings College Hospital in London, includes pieces of DNA that provide the coding for a protein found in cancer tumors.

They said the new drug also appears good in fighting a whole range of other cancers by triggering antibodies to the cancer cells.

The BBC said the researchers found the drug was even more effective when given in combination with ATRA, a drug currently used to treat leukemia.

Six out of 12 mice that had received both treatments were alive after 120 days, while all mice that had received only ATRA died by day 85.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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