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USFDA approved leukemia drug more effective than standard treatment

IANS  |  New York 

A drug approved by the US (FDA) in 2016 for treating elderly patients with of the blood and bone marrow has been proved to be significantly more effective than standard therapy, say researchers.

The drug, ibrutinib, attacks cells without damaging normal cells, thus causing fewer side effects for patients with chronic lymphocytic (CLL), said researchers from Chicago.

CLL, a of the immune system, is the most common form of It affects mainly older adults, with the average age of diagnosis around 70. The risk is higher in men.

The drug, taken as a pill once a day, is much more convenient than the standard treatment requiring the patient to come in three times a month for infusions and an injection.

"Ibrutinib should become the new standard of care," said Scott Smith, and an oncologist at Loyola's Stritch School of

Until now, the standard treatment has been a combination of a drug (bendamustine) that kills cells and an drug (rituximab) that suppresses the immune system.

But the study, published in The of Medicine, found that 87 per cent of patients receiving ibrutinib alone for two years were alive without any progression, compared with 74 per cent of patients who received bendamustine plus rituximab.

There was no significant difference between patients receiving ibrutinib alone and those receiving ibrutinib plus rituximab.

About 17 per cent of patients who received ibrutinib alone experienced an irregular heartbeat called But overall, the drug caused fewer side effects than the standard treatment, Smith said.

For the study, the team included 547 CLL patients (67 per cent male). All were older than 65.

Additional studies of ibrutinib are underway in CLL patients younger than age 65, Smith said.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, January 12 2019. 15:38 IST