April 21, 2021| By

Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Did You Know?

April 21st, 2021 is Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) World Awareness Day. On this day, we want to help raise awareness of this rare, aggressive form of cancer that happens in the blood and bone marrow. It is characterized by an excess of immature white blood cells and low quality red blood cells. It is the most common form of acute leukemia in adults. AML is difficult to treat because it comes on quickly, is aggressive and the majority of the population affected is over the age of 65 with other health issues.

Here are some things you may not know about AML:

There are 34 drugs currently approved to treat AML

For many hematological cancer patients and their physicians, the search for effective treatment options can be a long, frustrating process. Treatment options include chemotherapy, drug therapies and stem cell transplants. There are many institutions working on personalizing those treatments. For example, at Notable, our precision medicine platform predicts responses to potential therapies, ultimately determining which drugs or drug combinations could be most successful.

There are almost 400 clinical trials researching AML being conducted right now!

That’s right! Almost 400 trials in the works to help find a treatment or cure for AML. Our scientific community, including Notable, is working hard, every day to make advancements in the fight against this disease. Notable’s life science powered technology platform helps to fast-track drug discovery for hematological cancers. This can have a revolutionary impact on patients, who benefit most from our cutting edge prediction technology. Click here to see the list.

AML was discovered over 130 years ago

Although the pathological and anatomical descriptions of leukemia were first discussed in medical literature in the early 1800s by French surgeon Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau. In 1857, German pathologist Nikolaus Friedreich is credited with documenting the first case of acute leukemia, but it wasn’t until German physician Wilhelm Ebstein coined the term in 1889 that it became well recognized. Ebstein chronicled ‘Acute Leukaemia’ to differentiate between the rapid, fatal form and the slow growing ‘Chronic Leukaemias’. 

Frequent nosebleeds can be a symptom of AML

A classic sign of AML is that it develops quickly, or acutely, and becomes worse unless it is treated. Due to the poor blood quality, there are specific symptoms that arise.

The most common signs and symptoms of AML include:

  • A severe fatigue that is almost debilitating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bruising
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Infection
  • Bleeding from the gums, frequent nosebleeds

Although a rare disease, AML can affect anyone, including well known people

  • Evan Handler, actor 
  • Nora Ephron, writer
  • Carl Sagan, astronomer
  • Rishi Kapoor, actor
  • Lynn Shelton, filmmaker
  • Craig Sager, sportscaster

You can learn more about how to get involved in AML World Awareness Day here.