Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML)

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Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Sometimes called immunotherapy or biotherapy, monoclonal antibodies are lab-created immune-system proteins that are designed to stick to certain substances on the cancer cells. They help your immune system to identify and destroy the cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies can also be made with radioactive chemicals or with cell poisons attached to them. These antibodies seek out cancer cells, and the attached radioactive chemical or poison kills them.

Mylotarg is a monoclonal antibody that carries a poison. It is sometimes used to treat acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), particularly in older adults who may not tolerate a second course of chemotherapy and who are not good candidates for a bone marrow  transplant. Mylotarg has been shown to add to the effectiveness of cytarabine and idarubicin (chemotherapy drugs) in younger patients diagnosed with AML with inversions in chromosome 16 and those with AML with translocations between chromosomes 8 and 21. Because Mylotarg can damage the liver, doctors must closely monitor liver function during this treatment.