Study to investigate the impact of Covid-19 on patients with acute myeloid leukaemia

A new study at UCLH will look into the impact of COVID-19 infection on patients undergoing chemotherapy for treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a type of cancer that affects the blood cells. This study will involve 34 NHS hospitals and the lead for UCLH will be Dr Jenny O’Nions.

The PACE study aims to improve our understanding of the prevalence of prior Covid-19 infection in AML patients receiving chemotherapy and the health implications of this. It will also collect information on the seriousness, type and frequency of all infections in AML patients, and develop recommendations for the care of patients with AML and additional complications of Covid-19.

Around 60 people every week in the UK are diagnosed with AML and, as an acute disease, it can develop very quickly, with abnormal cells accumulating in the blood and bone marrow rapidly. Left untreated, leukaemia can cause death within weeks, however treatment for AML can put many patients into remission.

Chemotherapy is the primary method of treatment for AML and works by destroying abnormal (cancer) cells with cytotoxic drugs (drugs that are harmful to the body’s cells). Treatment can result in increased risk of infection and reduced ability to effectively fight infection. This study will help us understand the best way to manage infections in patients with AML in the future.

The study was set up in under 1 month thanks to the Cure Leukaemia funded Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP), a network of NHS hospitals, linked by Cure Leukaemia-funded Research Nurses.

At UCLH, the PACE study team includes Dr Jenny O’Nions, Sharon Edleston, Maia Collins, Gina Dean. The TAP team at UCLH also includes Dr Kate Cwynarski, Jo Hargroves, Laura Favero and Hinal Patel.