New survey in five European countries reveals urgent need to improve education about Acute Myeloid Leukaemia

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Ingelheim, Germany, 16 June 2014 - Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a devastating form of blood cancer that mainly affects people over 60 years old.1 For older patients who receive chemotherapy, the median survival is less than a year.2 Even though AML is considered rare, it accounts for around 18,860 new cases and 10,000 deaths in the US each year and is the most frequent cause of leukaemia-related deaths.3

  • Only 1 in 3 (36%) of people have heard of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), reveals survey of 2,520 people from across Europe.4
  • Awareness varied between the 5 countries surveyed: Italy demonstrated the highest awareness of AML (53%) and France the lowest (24%).4
  • An overwhelming majority (67%)4 believed leukaemia to be a ‘treatable’ form of cancer. However in the case of AML, prognosis is considered poor and worsens with age1 and 40% of AML patients are ineligible for the current standard of care (intensive chemotherapy) due to age and co-morbidities.5

Erin Schwartz, VP of Strategic Partnerships and Global Advocacy at the MAX Foundation comments, "People often believe that treatment of blood cancers is very straightforward these days, but this is not the case. For Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) prognosis remains poor, particularly for older patients who cannot tolerate intensive chemotherapy and who have limited treatment options. It is important that we educate people about AML and raise awareness of the support services available to patients and families affected by the disease."

Notes to editors:

About Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive and devastating blood cancer mainly affecting people over age 60.1 It is one of the most common types of acute leukaemia in adults, accounting for approximately one third of all adult leukaemias in the Western world1 and with one of the lowest survival rates of all leukaemias.6

In AML patients the prognosis worsens with increasing age, with a median survival of less than a year2 following diagnosis. The current standard of care for younger AML patients is intensive chemotherapy. However, 40% of AML patients cannot tolerate this treatment due to their age and comorbidities and the debilitating side effects.5 Especially for those older patients there is an unmet medical need for new and effective treatment options.

About The Max Foundation
The Max Foundation is a global health organization that believes that all people living with cancer have the right to access the best treatment and support. Through personalized access services, quality training and education, and global advocacy efforts, we help people face cancer with dignity and hope.

For more information, please visit:

About Boehringer Ingelheim in Oncology
Building on scientific expertise and excellence in the fields of pulmonary and cardiovascular medicine, metabolic disease, neurology, virology and immunology, Boehringer Ingelheim has embarked on a major research programme to develop innovative cancer drugs. Working in close collaboration with the international scientific community and a number of the world’s leading cancer centres, Boehringer Ingelheim’s commitment to oncology is underpinned by using advances in science to develop a range of targeted therapies for various solid tumours and haematological cancers.

Boehringer Ingelheim’s oncology pipeline is evolving and demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to advance the disease area.

Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally with 142 affiliates and a total of more than 47,400 employees. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

Taking social responsibility is an important element of the corporate culture at Boehringer Ingelheim. This includes worldwide involvement in social projects, such as the initiative "Making more Health" and caring for the employees. Respect, equal opportunities and reconciling career and family form the foundation of the mutual cooperation. In everything it does, the company focuses on environmental protection and sustainability.

In 2013, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 14.1 billion euros. R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.5% of its net sales.

1. Roboz GJ. Novel approaches to the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2011;2011:43-50.
2. Juliusson G, et al. Acute myeloid leukemia in the real world: why population-based registries are needed.  Blood. 2012;119(17):3890-9.
3. National Cancer Institute. Adult acute myeloid leukemia treatment (PDQ®). Available from: (updated 26 February 2014; accessed: March 2014).
4. Data on file, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia Awareness Survey, 2014. Survey conducted in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom via electronic questionnaires to 2,520 people.
5. Ferrara F. Treatment of unfit patients with acute myeloid leukemia: a still open clinical challenge. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2011;11(1):10-6.

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