Individualized systems medicine (ISM): applications in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML)

Approaches in individualized systems medicine (ISM) or personalized systems medicine would be useful for achieving optimal therapies, especially in cancer treatment. Strategies in ISM have been suggested by Pemovska et al., by focusing on the establishment of molecular profiling (Pemovska et al. 2013).

To do this, the researchers tested ex vivo drug sensitivity and resistance of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients’ cancer cells in response to 187 oncology drugs (Pemovska et al. 2013).  The consecutive patient samples were examined to investigate the mechanisms of the drug resistance.

Based on the profiles, the tests revealed 5 drug response subtypes (Pemovska et al. 2013). Some of the subtypes showed unique genomic properties, such as gene fusions and mutations. Different clinical responses were observed based on the profiling. These changes include the clonal evolution of the AML cells, genomic alterations that may contribute to the drug resistance, and new sensibilities to drugs that were not effective previously (Pemovska et al. 2013).

Such strategies may also be used for further studies of the clonal evolution of AML cells. For example, systems studies of the FLT3-dependent and FLT3-independent pathways would be helpful for finding potential targets (Leung et al., 2013).

Overall, the ISM strategies may be helpful to predict the effectiveness of the clinical applications of drug therapies. Such approaches can also be applied as the guidelines for more effective therapies.



Leung AY, Man CH, Kwong YL. FLT3 inhibition: a moving and evolving target in acute myeloid leukaemia. Leukemia. 2013 Feb;27(2):260-8. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.195.

Pemovska T, Kontro M, Yadav B, Edgren H, Eldfors S, Szwajda A, Almusa H, Bespalov MM, Ellonen P, Elonen E, Gjertsen BT, Karjalainen R, Kulesskiy E, Lagström S, Lehto A, Lepistö M, Lundán T, Majumder MM, Lopez Marti JM, Mattila P, Murumägi A, Mustjoki S, Palva A, Parsons A, Pirttinen T, Rämet ME, Suvela M, Turunen L, Västrik I, Wolf M, Knowles J, Aittokallio T, Heckman CA, Porkka K, Kallioniemi O, Wennerberg K. Individualized Systems Medicine (ISM) strategy to tailor treatments for patients with chemorefractory acute myeloid leukemia. Cancer Discov. 2013 Sep 20.

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