Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program Correlative Study: Individualized Therapy for Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia


To validate individualized therapy for treatment-resistant acute myeloid leukemia patients

Anticipated Impact: 

A high-throughput system that will evaluate tumor cells from patients with acute myeloid leukemia who have failed standard therapy for sensitivity to 160 drugs, guiding individualized follow-up treatment


The development and testing of new drugs to treat adult and pediatric cancers is a pressing national and global need. In recent years the effectiveness of targeted cancer drugs and the need to test and modify these medications and associated treatment regimens in humans has proven critical. The investigators will evaluate the promise of new cancer therapeutic agents through early stage clinical trials. The program will make new and possibly more effective cancer therapy agents available to people living in Washington earlier than otherwise possible, especially for common cancers for which conventional therapy is now largely ineffective. Washington-based physicians will also receive training on the newer therapies. The team's efforts will hasten the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry's development of cancer drugs and therapy regimens while allowing a greater proportion of the development to remain within Washington.

In 2012 LSDF made a $150,000 reinvestment in the clinical trials center, continuing a study funded under the original grant. Patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who have failed standard chemotherapy have a very low likelihood of survival, as the highly heterogeneous nature of AML, and by this point in the disease course, highly aggressive disease, make it impossible to try all the potential drug candidates. The original study, led by Dr. Vivian Oehler, established that patient samples could be tested for susceptibility to a panel of up to 160 drugs in a high-throughput model that more accurately reflects conditions in the human body. The reinvestment funds actual treatment of up to 15 patients using the diagnostic tool to choose the drug therapy. Translation and commercialization of the treatment selection protocol will be supported by the University of Washington’s Center for Commercialization.

Collaborating organizations: Wenatchee Valley Medical Center, Olympic Medical Center (Port Angeles), Skagit Valley Hospital (Mount Vernon), and Clinic Cancer Care (Great Falls, MT)

Cancer Clinical Trials Center

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Martin Cheever
Grantee Organization:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Grant Title:
Fred Hutchinson/University of Washington Cancer Consortium Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program Correlative Study: Individualized Therapy for Patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Grant Cohort and Year:
2012 Grant Award Supplement (06)
Grant Period:
03/01/2013 - 02/28/2015 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Sixteen patients were enrolled on the clinical trial of personalized therapy for AML, 15 of whom were treated for the AML. These patients were heavily pre-treated, with an average of 5 prior regimens, and half the patients had a preceding blood abnormality that worsened their chances of response to treatment. Blood and/or bone marrow samples were used to isolate leukemia cells that were then analyzed in a high throughput assay comprised of 160 chemotherapy drugs. Drugs to which the leukemia was susceptible were identified for each patient, and 14 patients were treated with a drug identified by the assay. We established feasibility, with average time to test results of 5.1 days (range 4-8), average time to treatment of 11.6 days, median 9 days. In 12/13 cases that had blood involvement with leukemia cells, the amount of leukemia declined after treatment with the chosen drug, and 3 patients subsequently achieved either complete remission or complete remission with incomplete count recovery, in 2 cases with subsequent courses of the chosen drug in combination with additional agents. When patients subsequently received a second exposure to drugs identified by the assay, there was again a decline in circulating leukemia cells. The objectives of this feasibility trial were fulfilled, and should lay the foundation for future trials of individualized treatment for cancer.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact
Port Angeles
Mount Vernon
Moses Lake
Spokane Valley
Gig Harbor

Legislative Districts:
, 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34, 36, 37, 40, 41, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48

Health Impacts

Cancer Clinical Trials Center