A recent news report highlighted a breakthrough new drug in the clinical trial phase that is catching the attention of oncology professionals around the country.
According to a recent article from WBNS-10TV, a news station based out of Columbus, Ohio, the drug ibrutinib has been identified as a standout in clinical trials targeting leukemia, CLL to be specific.
The story featured a man by the name of Dennis Hickey who had been diagnosed with CLL 10 years ago and was given six months to live. Mr. Hickey was enrolled in a clinical trial through Ohio State's Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. Hickey admitted that he didn't expect to be alive still, especially considering his strong family history; and yet 10 years later he is enjoying a quality of life that he says is better than before his diagnosis.
Ibrutinib is a BTK inhibitor, which works by targeting the BTK (Burton's Tyrosine Kinase) molecule on malignant B-cells. Essentially this shuts the B-cells off and decreases their ability to adhere and migrate. It seems as though ibrutinib is not only being indicated for CLL, there have been more trials registered for lymphoma with this drug than any other cancer type, with the most impressive results being found against relapsed or refractory Mantle cell lymphoma.
According to Dr. Michael Wang with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, ibrutinib has continually shown results for Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) that are more effective than other high toxicity combination therapies. This leads to the next impressive quality of this drug, in that it has minor side effects when compared to the traditional treatment regimens.
Dr. Wang's trial consisted of 111 patients who were diagnosed with refractory or relapsed MCL and of these, 68 percent of the patients had response -- 21 percent had a complete response, and 47 percent had a partial response. By most standards these are promising numbers and for those of us working in the oncology field, it is exciting to know that there are new medications being developed that could make life a bit easier for our patients.
When I heard of this story, I wondered if anyone is aware of other institutions trialing this drug or if anyone had heard anything more than what was mentioned above.
I personally don't have very much exposure to clinical trials because I work on an inpatient oncology unit and we only see the traditional chemotherapeutic regimens. But if there are more stories like Dennis Hickey's regarding ibrutinib, please feel free to share. I would love to hear them.