What are some examples of Recent Innovations?
Ibrutinib: New hope for CLL patients
This drug received a “breakthrough” designation by the US Food and Drug Admin. because of its early signs of effectiveness. Currently there are a number of research projects attempting to improve Ibrutinib’s performance by combining it with other drugs.
Gleevec: A Revolutionary Drug
Since its approval in 2001, Gleevec® has become a standard first-line therapy for newly diagnosed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients. This groundbreaking treatment has nearly doubled the survival rate for people with CML to 95 percent.
Sprycel and Tasigna: More Good News for CML Patients
Sprycel® and Tasigna® are newer drugs for people who do not respond to Gleevec or who are intolerant of certain side-effects. Along with Gleevec they're helping chronic phase CML patients survive many years with good quality of life.
Rituxan: More Effective Chemotherapy
In 2001, researchers found that Rituxan, a monoclonal antibody (see Quick Intro. to Blood Chemistry) improved chemotherapy effectiveness for people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
CAR-T: Engineering our Own Immune System to Kill Leukemia Cells
In 2011, a medical breakthrough in the treatment of leukemia was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The research team accomplished three things that had never been done before:
They engineered the body’s own immune system (T-cells) to fight and kill leukemia cells.
They programmed them to multiply inside the body and form an even larger army of cancer cell destroyers, and
They were able to leave a set of memory T-cells in the blood stream capable of killing leukemia cells if they showed up again.
In 2017, this therapy became the first FDA-approved personalized cellular therapy for cancer. The project leader, Dr. Carl June, was recognized by Time magazine as one of the most influential people in the world.
In October, 2011 Imagine a Cure for Leukemia stepped forward and granted $135,000 to help keep this promising research project moving forward. Clinical Trials have since been expanded and the therapy is being used to treat children with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.