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.