Probably one of the hottest topics in CML research these days is treatment-free remission. As more and more studies open up looking at the impact of stopping TKI treatment, and as more patients remain in remission, cautious excitement is building in the CML community.
In Canada, there is currently one stopping trial recruiting patients, which is funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb. One of the criteria that has to be met to join this trial is that imatinib would have been your only medication. And in the case of a relapse, you would be required to restart with Sprycel.
For people who are a bit hesitant about the possibility of developing new side effects, the LAST study – which is open to Canadians – is especially intriguing because patients can restart the same medication they were taking pre-trial.
There are many reasons why it is important to stop your medication under the care of your clinician and in a trial. But the key one is this: as one doctor put it, you could be undetectable today, but detectable tomorrow. Getting tested frequently is critical. Catching any changes early are not only And since monthly blood tests are not paid for by our government, the most economical way of stopping medication safely is within a trial.
It does makes one ask the question: how much is a blood test anyway? And could you pay for monthly testing if your doctor agreed? And who would you pay? Stay tuned for more information on this.
Click here for more details on the LAST trial.