Background on Worldwide Access to PCR
There is a significant need to educate patients and physicians of the importance of monitoring residual disease levels and understanding PCR test results. Because CML is a disease that usually requires lifelong treatment, regular monitoring for disease progression is critical to achieving positive outcomes (every 3-6 months depending on patient’s level of response to treatment).
The challenges are 1) PCR testing requires expensive diagnostic equipment that is not available in all countries 2) not all physicians are properly trained on PCR testing for CML patients 3) many CML patients do not understand what PCR testing is and why it is so critical to their health.
My PCR aims to help every person living with CML successfully monitor their treatment using PCR testing. In partnership with patient advocacy organizations around the world, My PCR provides educational information about PCR testing in over 25 languages, offers grants for partners to raise awareness within their local communities and supplies informational tools and resources.
Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) is characterized by the presence of the Philadelphia Chromosome, a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 which juxtaposes portions of the BCR (Breakpoint cluster region) and ABL (Abelson) (ABL1) genes, thereby forming the hybrid gene, BCR-ABL1. BCR-ABL1 codes for a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase, which activates signal transduction pathways and leads to unchecked cell division. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as imatinib (Gleevec), have transformed the treatment and outcomes for patients with CML, with second-generation TKIs offering effective therapeutic options for patients with resistance to imatinib.
Reliable, regular, sensitive monitoring is important to evaluate the effect of treatment. It is also critical that the treating physician is able to interpret the result appropriately, or has the support to do so. Monitoring BCR-ABL1 transcripts by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has enabled more precise assessment of response to specific therapies for CML. The European Leukemia Network (ELN) is the leading global entity that sets forth guidelines for monitoring CML treatment.
The Max Foundation’s Role In the Campaign
My PCR is coordinated by The Max Foundation to serve the global community of patient advocacy organizations. My PCR was developed in collaboration with the broader CML community, in hopes that all people living with CML around the world will feel part of the initiative.
My PCR is a patient driven initiative led by the coalition of CML-focused organizations who are Campaign Partners in raising awareness about the importance of CML treatment monitoring. Every patient advocacy organization that share this goal is invited to become a partner and are welcome to use the initiative as a way to encourage discussion around the importance of PCR.
The Max Foundation welcomes your feedback towards improving and strengthening My PCR. Please contact us with your ideas.