New leukemia drug could replace invasive chemical therapy treatment
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/4/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
An Australian doctor suggests that the anti-leukemia drug Ibrutinib could end traditional chemotherapy treatments forever. Trial tests have given researchers renewed hope in the fight against leukemia.
Ibruntinib is far less invasive than traditional forms of radiation.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Results of a trial on 391 patients showed the drug Ibrutinib gave patients fighting a type of slow growing blood cancer called chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The new drug gave patients a 90 percent chance of survival, eight higher than the 81 percent who survive on chemotherapy treatment alone.
Ibruntinib is far less invasive than traditional forms of radiation. The drug is being sought as an alternative for patients whose cancer cells have built up a resistance to chemotherapy. Results from the trial also showed that four out of every 10 patients entered remission within a year in contrast to four in 100 on a traditional course of radiation.
"We might not need chemotherapy at all," Dr. Con Tam of Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Center says. He's confident that Ibrutinib will eventually replace chemotherapy as the main treatment for leukemia patients.
Patients on the international trial responded quicker to the drug than chemotherapy and showed fewer side effects, according to Dr. Tam. Also encouraging was that patients who do not respond to, or have a resistance to chemotherapy treatments, now have an alternative.
"These resistant patients have no other treatment option," the co-author of a New England Journal of Medicine report said. "This pill works extremely well when chemotherapy stops working."
The drug disables an enzyme crucial for leukemia's survival. Ibrutinib is currently being fast tracked for approval in the US and it could be just a year before Australians have access to it.
One of the rarest forms of cancer, CCL is the most common type of leukemia. The older you are, the higher the chance you have of developing it. Almost 80 percent of all new cases are diagnosed in people over the age of 60.
Occurring more frequently in men than women, symptoms develop slowly, many people don't show symptoms in its early stages.
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