Liposomal cytarabine-daunorubicin is currently being developed for paediatric patients with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). AML is an aggressive type of blood cancer that starts from certain types of white blood cells in the bone marrow. AML results in abnormal white blood cells being produced too quickly, resulting in them accumulating in the bone marrow and spreading to other parts of the body. Relapsed AML is when the leukaemia has returned following initial successful treatment and refractory AML is leukaemia that is resistant to the initial treatment. The prognosis for children with relapsed or refractory AML is poor and associated with significant side effects so new therapies are needed.
Liposomal cytarabine-daunorubicin is made up of the chemotherapy drugs daunorubicin and cytarabine contained within fat-based particles called liposomes. Liposomal cytarabinedaunorubicin is delivered by intravenous infusion and provides controlled release of daunorubicin and cytarabine. Daunorubicin works by interrupting the copying of DNA which is necessary for cancer cell growth and cytarabine works by inhibiting DNA production to kill cancerous cells. If licenced, liposomal cytarabine-daunorubicin may offer an additional treatment option for paediatric patients with relapsed or refractory AML.