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Tools Improve Treatment Management of AML Patients

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Genzyme Corporation has announced the availability of two new molecular tests for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) with the launch of FLT3 Mutation Analysis and WT1 RQ-PCR. FLT3 mutations are considered a prognostic indicator of poor survival and response to standard chemotherapies.

The WT1 RQ PCR test allows physicians to monitor AML patients for early relapse during and following therapy. Together, these tests may enable oncologists to better manage their patients.

"Understanding an AML patient's prognosis will allow the physician and patient to make more effective treatment decisions. We are very pleased to expand our testing menu and to increase the information available to the treating physician," said Mara Aspinall, president of Genzyme Genetics, the business unit of Genzyme Corp. focused on the research, development and provision of high quality, complex testing services.

"These innovative tests highlight the increasing importance and value of personalized medicine in oncology."

FLT3 receptor mutations are one of the most common genetic abnormalities in AML and have been shown to be an independent predictor of survival. Approximately 30 percent of patients with AML have FLT3 mutations.

Genzyme's exclusive WT1 RQ-PCR test is designed to detect minimal residual disease (MRD), or very low levels of disease. The WT1 gene is expressed in approximately 90 percent of patients with AML.

Use of this test enables physicians to identify AML patients at high risk for relapse weeks to months prior to recurrence. The WT1 test is designed to provide oncologists additional information and time to implement other treatment strategies.

"The FLT3 and WT1 tests may have the potential to change the current paradigms of AML therapy. The results of these tests could influence treatment strategies," said Morton Coleman, M.D., professor of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University.