London: In a ray of hope for children with relapsed leukaemia, scientists claim that a new treatment has been found to improve survival rates dramatically.
A research, funded by Cancer Research UK and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, has found that a new drug, Mitoxantran, can increase three-year survival rates to almost 70 per cent, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
The study in 216 children found that the drug increased three-year survival rates to 69 per cent, compared to 45 per cent for those on the standard treatment. Those on the new drug also experienced fewer side effects.
Cancer Research UK said that these results were "so promising that now all children with relapsed ALL are being offered the trial drug Mitoxantrone".
All is the most common type of childhood leukaemia.
Professor Vaskar Saha, a paediatric oncologist at the Paterson Institute in Manchester, said: "These striking results show just what a powerful drug Mitoxantrone is in treating children whose leukaemia has returned, offering hope to many families across the country."
He added: "As a result of this trial, Mitoxantrone is now the standard treatment for relapsed all, and is having a significant impact on the number of children who beat the disease worldwide.
"This is the first time that a trial in ALL has been stopped so early after one drug had such clear benefits for patients."