New experimental wonder drug a cancer buster

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Source: Herald Sun – Brigid O’Connell.

drugs blue tint oncology news australia_800x500Victorians with advanced chemotherapy-resistant leukaemia or are too frail to withstand treatment, have a tenfold better chance of remission through a new experimental drug.


The tablet ibrutinib is being lauded a wonder drug by Victorian oncologists for patients who have exhausted all other options.

The results of the global phase III clinical trials are so impressive, that further trials have already started to see if it can replace chemotherapy and treat the cancer in the same way blood pressure is managed with daily maintenance tablets.

About 1000 Australians are diagnosed each year with the incurable chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, which is the most common type of adult leukaemia.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre consultant haematologist Dr Con Tam, a leader of the ibrutinib versus ofatumumab study, said while the cancer in about half of CLL patients was benign and required no treatment, it progressed to becoming chemotherapy-resistant in the other half.

This study of 391 patients worldwide, including Victorians from Peter Mac and St Vincent’s Hospital, saw them given either daily ibrutinib tablets or injections of atumumab.

After one year, overall survival on ibrutinib was 90 per cent with 43 per cent entering remission, compared to 81 per cent survival on ofatumumab and four per cent in remission.

“This is the most significant breakthrough we’ve ever made in this scenario. It opens up a whole new era for the treatment of this leukaemia,” Dr Tam said…read more.


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