Game changer for leukaemia patients

  • 18/12/2015

A new cancer-fighting therapy is being labelled a game changer for leukaemia patients.

Ibrutinib, or IMBRUVICA, has just been approved by Medsafe to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, although it’s not yet funded.

CLL is a rare and life threatening, blood and bone marrow disease which affects around 120 New Zealanders each year, the majority of them over the age of 60.

Ibrutinib is the first of a new class of therapies, called Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors.  They work by blocking signals to the leukaemia cells to multiply and spread.

Clinical trials have shown a 78 per cent reduction in progression or death and it’s causing some excitement among blood cancer specialists who say it offers another option for patients whose disease has progressed despite other treatment.

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