06-20-2013, 09:38 PM #1
New drug may be best treatment for leukemia yet
(TIME.com) -- It's called ibrutinib, and it's a potential breakthrough in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that could leave patients with fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
In research published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), scientists report that the experimental drug, which differs from broadly acting chemotherapy agents by specifically targeting certain cancer-causing processes, significantly prolongs the life of patients.
Ibrutinib is currently being tested on tumors that target the body's immune system, such as CLL and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
CLL is the second most common form of leukemia among adults in the U.S., and about 15,000 Americans, most of whom are elderly, are diagnosed with the blood and bone marrow cancer every year..........
"With chemotherapy, you get it for a specific period of time because patients cannot tolerate the side effects long term. This is an oral medicine that targets something the leukemia cells are dependent on but the rest of the body isn't," says Byrd.
"People can take a pill once a day and generally they tolerate it well. The side effects are much less than the chemo or other therapies that would be used in this setting."............
The fact that even patients with the most aggressive types of CLL, which are driven by genetic mutations, responded to ibrutinib also hints that the experimental drug may become an important part of treating these cancers in coming years.
The FDA designated it as breakthrough therapy, and Pharmacyclics and Janssen, who are jointly developing the drug, plan to file a New Drug Application (NDA) with the FDA for the use of ibrutinib to treat B-cell malignancies by 2014.
More at link....
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