New Leukemia Drug Works Better Than Chemotherapy: Study

Posted: Dec 7 2015, 2:57am CST | by , Updated: Dec 7 2015, 4:24am CST, in News | Latest Science News


New Leukemia Drug Works Better than Chemotharpy: Study
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The drug slow down the progression of disease and cut death risk in untreated patients

A new cancer drug has been found significantly effective against chronic leukemia disease. 

According to the latest study, the new drug can slow down the progression of disease and reduce the risk of death in untreated patients of leukemia. And it can be a better replacement to toxic chemotherapy. 

A total of 269 patients with chronic lymphocytic Leukemia were treated with drug called ‘Imbruvica’ or ‘ibrutinib’ and followed nearly two years. The drug showed some promising effects.

The overall survival rate of patients treated with Imbruvica was 97.8% compared to those who underwent first choice chemotherapy (85.3%). 

After 18 months, 90% of Imbruvica patients experienced no progression in disease. At least 50% reduction in disease was noticed compared to 35% with chemotherapy. 4% of Imbruvica patients showed no signs of leukemia or got rid of the disease, versus 2% for chemotherapy. Only minor adverse effects were noticed in the patients who had taken the new cancer drug.

“Ibrutinib was superior to chlorambucil (chemotherapy drug) in CLL patients with no prior treatment, as measured by progression-free survival, overall survival, and response," said lead author Jan Burger. "The study also revealed significant improvements in hemoglobin and platelet levels."

“In every measurable way it is so clearly better (than chemotherapy) that the data argue for supporting approval.”

CCL is a type of cancer that starts in the blood-forming cells in bone marrow where leukemia cells continuously grow and crowd out healthy blood cells. At some point, leukemia cells leave the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream, causing to increase the white blood cells. Leukemia cells can spread to other organs and disturbs the normal functioning of other cells in the body.

“CCL is the most common adult leukemia in western countries and primarily affects the older patients with a median age of 72 years at diagnoses,” said Burger. “In many countries, chlorambucil has remained the standard first-line therapy for such patients since the 1960s. This study paves the way for the use of ibrutinib in the front-line therapy setting.”

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The Author

Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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