Amgen, a biotechnology company, has announced that their immunotherapy drug Blincyto® (blinatumomab) appears promising in the treatment of adults with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The company announced findings from a Phase 2 trial in a recent press release.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells. Relapsed/refractory ALL in adults has a dismal prognosis, with only 35–40 percent of patients reaching a remission and a median overall survival of 4–6 months. Relapsed ALL is currently managed with stem cell transplantation and chemotherapy. Up to 40% of adults with ALL have a chromosomal abnormality known as Philadelphia chromosome-positive.
Blincyto is a bispecific antibody construct that binds specifically to CD19, a protein expressed on the surface of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias, as well as CD3 on the surface of T cells. By bringing the two molecules together, Blincyto redirects the T cells to kill the cancer cells.
Amgen reports that an ongoing clinical trial evaluating Blincyto for effectiveness and safety in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory Ph+ ALL appears promising as a significant number of patients’ disease has gone into remission. In addition, patients haven’t experienced any unexpected side effects.
Reference: Amgen Announces Positive BLINCYTO® (blinatumomab) Phase 2 Study Results In Patients With Relapsed/Refractory Philadelphia Chromosome-Positive B-Cell Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia [press release]. Amgen website. Available at: https://www.amgen.com/media/media_pr_detail.jsp?year=2015&releaseID=2068505. Accessed July 20, 2015.
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