I didn’t hear much about antibody research at this year’s ASH. I have fielded a number of questions recently about the use of antibodies for treating multiple myeloma. This article about this drug company sponsored study should help shed some light on this potentially promising treatment thread from HealthNewsDigest.com:
New Treatment for Multiple Myeloma Shows Promise
Dec 15, 2009 – 3:29:48 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) – ATLANTA — A new approach to treating multiple myeloma shows high response rates in preliminary clinical studies, according to results presented last week at the American Society for Hematology meeting in New Orleans.
Sagar Lonial, MD, associate professor of hematology and medical oncology at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, presented the results. Lonial is director of translational research for Winship’s B-cell malignancy program and a lead investigator on the clinical study.
Elotuzumab is an antibody engineered to attack a specific protein on the surface of plasma cells. Doctors have successfully used antibody such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) and Rituximab to fight other forms of cancer, but this is the first antibody with positive data against multiple myeloma. Elotuzumab targets a protein (CS-1) that is found abundantly on the surface of plasma cells and multiple myeloma cells.
“These interim results are of significant scientific and clinical interest,” says Lonial. “I am very encouraged by the efficacy and safety data we have seen to date for this combination, which may offer a future treatment option for multiple myeloma patients.”
Multiple myeloma, a cancer of cells in the blood, remains incurable, although stem-cell transplantation and chemotherapy can stave off the disease for awhile. In recent years, anti-cancer agents such as lenalidomide and bortezomib have emerged as effective treatments.
The current study enrolled patients with multiple myeloma who had already experienced at least one relapse. Treatment included elotuzumab in combination with two standard drugs, dexamethasone and lenalidomide. This combination was based in part on laboratory data that suggested that lenalidomide may enhance the efficacy of the antibody by improving the immune system’s ability to target the cancer cells using the antibody. In the open-label study, 83 percent of all patients and 95 percent of patients who were previously unexposed to lenalidomide responded to the combination.
Two phase I trials of elotuzumab have already been completed. The main goal of the current study was to determine doses patients can tolerate, along with evaluating safety, how long the drug lasts in the body and effectiveness. Additional studies will be necessary before FDA approval and widespread availability.
The combination was generally tolerated well with the major side effect related to infusion reactions from the antibody infusion.
The current study included patients from Georgia, Missouri, New York and France, and is expected to be completed in July 2010. The study was sponsored by Facet Biotech, which manufactures elotuzumab.
More potentially good multiple myeloma therapy news. Feel good and keep smiling! Pat