New Cancer Drug Melts Leukemia

New Cancer Drug Melts Leukemia
Venetoclax melts Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Cancer Cells

 

 

 

 

Venetoclax is a completely new type of drug which melts away cancer cells in up to 85% of CLL patients and has been pioneered in the community of Melbourne, Australia. It has already been through two clinical trials. Professor John Seymour, Director of Haematology at Peter Mac and Royal Melbourne Hospital claims this drug could not only change the way Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, or CLL, is treated but any cancer. 

 

 

 

 

 

The drug was developed after a protein BCL-2 was found lying behind the development of leukemia cancer cells. BCL-2 is a critical regulator of apoptosis (cancer cell death) and has been found on the outer membrane of all mitochondria. It’s role is to block cancer cell death.

Venetoclax seems to work whether the cancer cells carry or do not carry a defective p53 gene, literally melting the cancer cells away. Scientists believe the drug could be a game-changer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two clinical trials have taken place. The AIM study, and the MURANO study. Extremely positive results have shown up to 85% survival after two years against the chemotherapy norm of just 36%.

 

 

 

 

 

In the AIM research, 70% of patients stayed cancer-free after treatment with ibrutinib and venetoclax.

Apparently, venetoclax, is so successful, one of the biggest problems has been the mass lysis of cancer cells, and the drug has to be used slowly and ’ramped up’.

Venetoclax is the generic name for Venclexta, now approved by the FDA as ’a Breakthrough Therapy’. It is approved by them to treat CLL but only where other drugs have first failed. A 2018 April reported study(2) suggested that 56% of treated patients suffered neutropenia, 39% upper respiratory tract infection and 36% thrombocytopenia. This trial is ongoing. One year progression free survival was 79%.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

1. https://www.petermac.org/news/melbourne-drug-blood-cancer-game-changer

2. 
 2018 Apr 12;131(15):1704-1711. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-06-788133. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

 

2018 Research
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