FDA Approves New Combination Therapy for Adult Leukemia

Ibrutinib pic
Image: webmd.com

A recipient of the Best Fellow award during his fellowship at St. Vincent’s Medical Center, respected hematologic oncologist Dr. Matthew Taub is involved in the local medical community. In addition to serving on a tumor board, Dr. Matthew Taub serves on a multidisciplinary committee, providing advice on treatment protocols for blood cancers such as leukemia.

In late 2018, the FDA approved the first non-chemotherapy combination treatment specifically for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), which represents nearly 40 percent of leukemia diagnoses in American adults. The approval was based on the results of a phase 3 drug trial which determined that a combination therapy of the small-molecule drug ibrutinib and the whole antibody obinutuzumab significantly improved outcomes for patients. The study was conducted at the Hospital de la Santa Creu in Barcelona, Spain.

Ibrutinib, manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceutica under the brand name Imbruvica, had previously been approved as a single drug treatment for CLL. The drug hinders the spread of CLL by blocking a protein that is essential to the survival of abnormal B lymphocytes. This new expanded use provides CLL patients with a viable alternative to chemotherapy.


The American Society of Hematology Education Roadmap

American Society of Hematology pic
American Society of Hematology
Image: hematology.org

A board-certified oncologist with more than 20 years of experience, Matthew Taub, MD, practices at Optimum Oncology Hematology Associates in Pembroke Pines, Florida. An active participant in the professional community, Dr. Matthew Taub maintains membership in the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

The leading provider of continuing education to hematologists, ASH recently developed an “Education Roadmap” that seeks to expand the society’s professional development offerings and address the skill gaps and educational needs of its members. ASH is working on enhancing its content in six areas: precision medicine, acute myeloid leukemia, sickle cell disease, immune therapies, systems-based hematology, and hemostasis and thrombosis.

In addition to in-person conferences and training, ASH offers an eLearning platform called ASH Academy with up-to-date clinical information and practice tools. By completing ASH Academy courses and evaluations, members can earn continuing medical education credits to maintain certifications. The ASH On Demand service also makes previous educational meetings and webinars available to members for on-demand viewing.

ASCO Highlights Recent Cancer Treatment Advances

Matthew Taub
Matthew Taub

Dr. Matthew Taub, a board-certified physician specializing in internal medicine, hematology, and oncology, possesses more than 20 years of clinical experience. In addition to his work on several medical committees, Dr. Matthew Taub holds membership in the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

For over a decade, ASCO has released Clinical Cancer Advances, an annual report detailing the year’s most significant advances in cancer treatment. The 2018 release brings focus to several Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies for their impact in the fight against cancer.

In 2017, the FDA approved pembrolizumab for use in patients with certain types of metastatic tumors. The immunotherapy drug is first in a line of tissue-agnostic therapies, treatments that work based on a tumor’s biomarkers, to be approved.

The report also chronicles improvements in targeted therapies for lung, breast, and bladder cancers and reviews the promising effects of radiotherapy and tumor-treating fields on aggressive forms of brain cancer.

Three Factors That Increase the Risk of Anemia


Image: webmd.com

Pembroke Pines, Florida-based physician Dr. Matthew Taub has more than two decades of experience treating blood-related disorders and cancers at Optimum Oncology Hematology Associates. At the clinic, Dr. Matthew Taub is part of a multidisciplinary staff that addresses common blood disorders such as anemia.

Anemia is a red blood cell disorder that affects more than 3 million Americans. In addition to a low hemoglobin count, anemia causes fatigue, headaches, and irregular heartbeats. The following risk factors are highly associated with anemia:

Limited Diet: Anemia can be triggered by a diet lacking in vitamin B12, iron, and folate. For this reason, people who eat restricted diets, including vegan and vegetarian, are especially susceptible.

Age: The likelihood of developing anemia due to iron deficiency increases after the age of 65. Additionally, women may experience low iron levels during pregnancy and childbirth, making anemia more common for women around childbearing age.

Associated Diagnosis: Anemia is also associated with other chronic illnesses, including cancer as well as diseases of the thyroid, liver, and kidneys. Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis have also been linked to a higher likelihood of anemia.

Biomarker Predicts How Prostate Cancer Will Respond to Chemotherapy

Prostate Cancer pic
Prostate Cancer
Image: webmd.com

Compassionate physician Dr. Matthew Taub has been working in the hematology and oncology field for more than two decades. A physician at Optimum Oncology Hematology Associates in Florida, he has treated several benign and malignant disorders over the course of his career. Committed to remaining apprised of developments in his field, Dr. Matthew Taub attends numerous professional meetings during the year.

In December 2018, cancer researchers from Australia discovered a biomarker that can predict how well patients with metastatic prostate cancer will respond to chemotherapy. Known as the mGSTP1 (glutathione s transferase gene) biomarker, researchers discovered the presence of this gene in the blood of more than 80 percent of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Following two cycles of chemotherapy using docetaxel, the biomarker was not found in 53 percent of cases. This decrease in mGSTP1 was also associated with better overall survival rates and slower progression of the disease.

Scientists discovered that mGSTP1 was a biomarker for prostate cancer more than two decades ago. However, the current study was the first phase 3 investigation of how patients with this gene responded to chemotherapy. Although more research is needed, scientists feel that the discovery of how mGSTP1 responds to chemotherapy will help physicians better customize treatment based on the genetic makeup of a patient’s cancer. It will also hopefully lead to the development of the first epigenetic biomarkers for prostate cancer.

FDA Approves First Therapy for Newly Diagnosed PTCLs

PTCLs pic
Image: medscape.org

Trained at New York Medical College and the now-dissolved University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Dr. Matthew Taub is a board-certified oncologist based in Florida. Drawing on decades of experience, Dr. Matthew Taub provides evidence-based medical treatment in accordance with guidelines published by the National Cancer Committee Network for a wide range of cancers.

Until recently, no FDA-approved treatment existed for patients with newly-diagnosed CD30-expressing peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs). Now, the FDA recommends treating PTCLs using brentuximab vedotin injection in conjunction with chemotherapy. This conclusion was made within two weeks of submission to the agency due to the new Real-Time Oncology Review (RTOR) program. Intended to expedite the clinical availability of lifesaving treatments, the RTOR was just launched this past July.

The FDA looked at the ECHELON-2 clinical trial involving 452 patients with PTCLs when it made its decision. Patients in the trial received standard chemotherapy or chemotherapy with brentuximab vedotin injection. In the later arm of the study, patients experienced a median of 48 months of progression-free survival compared to 21 months for the control group with a P-value of 0.01.

Lactoferrin May Help Alleviate Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Lactoferrin pic
Image: webmd.com

Possessing more than two decades of professional experience, Dr. Matthew Taub is a board-certified oncologist who also trained in hematology. Dr. Matthew Taub treats patients through Everglades Oncology and Hematology in Miramar, Florida. Relying on evidence-based practices in oncology, he continually seeks out new information that can improve the patient experience, especially in relation to chemotherapy.

Researchers have recently found that a daily lactoferrin supplement may help mitigate some of the taste and smell abnormalities observed in patients who undergo chemotherapy. About 60 to 70 percent of patients experience these issues in relation to this treatment, but researchers have still not identified the underlying cause. Alleviating these symptoms could help generate more optimism among patients battling cancer.

The initial study, conducted at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech), involved only 19 patients and 12 healthy controls. The researchers associated taste and smell abnormalities with high levels of salivary iron and the loss of certain salivary immune proteins. Lactoferrin supplementation was found to reduce salivary iron significantly while increasing immune proteins like annexin A1 and proteinase inhibitor. In addition, there was a significant reduction in the taste and smell abnormality score among patients undergoing chemotherapy, with a P-value of less than 0.001.

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