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App improves prediction of leukemia risk


New tool enables doctors to better estimate the risk of leukemia
With leukemia, the course of the disease can take extremely different forms, with a correspondingly variable risk for those affected. A new tool, which is also available as an app for smartphones, could give the treating physicians a significantly better assessment of the risk of chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (CLL). This would enable much more differentiated advice and treatment to be implemented in the future.

An international team of researchers led by Professor Dr. Michael Hallek from the German CLL Study Group (DCLLSG) at the University Hospital Cologne developed the tool for risk assessment in leukemia patients, which also enables doctors to compare the results online. The researchers tested the efficiency of their tool on just under 3,500 test subjects and the convincing results were published in the journal "The Lancet Oncology".

Different risk in leukemia patients
Chronic lymphoblastic leukemia (CLL) is "the most common form of leukemia in adults," according to the University Hospital of Cologne. The rapid progress in gene analysis has made it possible to gain important new insights into CLL in recent years. The genetic analysis distinctions play a particularly important role here, since the course of the disease in CLL patients can vary accordingly. For example, the "disease can manifest itself as an almost harmless, lifelong change in laboratory values, but also as a very aggressive, immediately life-threatening leukemia," reports the Cologne University Hospital. A precise, individual risk assessment is therefore extremely important for patients with CLL.

Differentiated diagnosis and treatment possible
The research team led by Prof. Hallek developed the "CLL International Prognostic Index" (CLL-IPI) as a modern tool for determining the risk in CLL patients. According to the study director, the CLL-IPI represents a significant advance over the traditional stage classification. The index combines modern and established risk factors and is easy to use. "With the help of this tool, we will be able to advise and treat CLL patients in a much more differentiated manner in the future," emphasizes Prof. Hallek, who is also director of the Center for Integrated Oncology and Director of Clinic I at Cologne University Hospital. "This new instrument is an important development on the way from conventional chemotherapy to the increasing use of targeted therapies," praises Dr. Gabriele Kröner, Executive Director of the German José Carreras Leukemia Foundation. The foundation had the work of Prof. Dr. Michael Hallek, Dr. Nadine Kutsch and Dr. Supported Jasmin Bahlo (DCLLSG) exclusively with a grant of around 130,000 euros.

The "CLL International Prognostic Index" is available online here or can be downloaded as an app for iOS, Android and Windows. (fp)

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