Recently released news from a U.S. pharmaceutical company stunned the market when they revealed that they had trialed a new drug that may help in the fight against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). About one month ago “Ibrutinib,” a new orally taken drug that is said to be different from traditional chemotherapy treatments by targeting specific processes and preventing tumor metastasis (spread) was announced.
It is said to work by binding to the B-cells (cells that produce antibodies) while not affecting the T-cells (cells that destroy invading pathogens [microorganisms] with perforins [a protein produced by killer cells of the immune system that causes disintegration] and granules [a small particle]).
When chemotherapy is given to a patient, usually it has the effect of causing the T-cells a great deal of damage. Because of this, the side-effects a cancer patient experiences can be quite severe. However, because Ibrutinib does not affect these vitally import T-cells, the adverse side-effects are significantly reduced.
Treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia is considered to be literally lifesaving. So such an important announcement has gathered an awful lot of interest from both researchers and physicians alike. Studies have been impressive, with the results astounding those involved.
One particular study showed where two different groups were trialed with Ibrutinib, one group (81% of patients) was given a 420 mg dose (considered a low dosage), and another group (40% of patients) was given a 840 mg dose (considered a high dosage), the results were unbelievable. These two groups accounted for 74% of all the CLL sufferers involved in the trials. Further more, the trials showed that nearly 90% of patients showed a 50% reduction in lymph nodes.
The trials carried out on the CLL patients themselves has their challenges, as chronic lymphocytic leukemia is in general a very difficult disease to treat at the best of times. Over 40% of patients involved in these trials who had previously been given at least three prior treatments involving chemotherapy and other drugs, had suffered a relapse. Other challenges were age, as over 20% of the patients were over 70 years old.
To sum this up, Ibrutinib showed, and is still showing amazing results, as nearly 80% of those who were trialed are still taking the drug today, and who are showing a 90% response rate. Over 13% of patients have been able to achieve a complete response, and a minority of 3% have been declared in remission and who will be continually monitored in the future. It certainly seems that Ibrutinib has a future!