Beacon NewsFlashes – June 26, 2012
Published: Jun 26, 2012 10:00 am
Subcutaneous Velcade Gets Positive Opinion From European Advisory Committee – An advisory committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted a positive opinion recommending European approval of subcutaneous Velcade (bortezomib). The committee’s decision was based on results of a Phase 3 study demonstrating that subcutaneous Velcade is as effective as intravenous Velcade but associated with fewer and less serious side effects. Updated, longer-term results of the Phase 3 study were recently published in the journal Hematologica (abstract). The EMA is expected to decide whether or not to approve subcutaneous Velcade within 30 to 60 days. For information, see the press release from Janssen-Cilag, the company that markets Velcade in Europe.
Oxycontin May Reduce Peripheral Neuropathic Pain After Velcade Treatment – Results from an Italian study suggest that treatment with the pain medication Oxycontin (controlled-release oxycodone) may help control Velcade-induced peripheral neuropathic pain that is unresponsive to other pain killers. The 62 myeloma and lymphoma patients who participated in the study reported an average reduction in pain intensity from 7.6 to 1.3 (on an 11-point rating scale) after two weeks of Oxycontin treatment. The frequency of brief pain was also reduced with Oxycontin treatment. About 75 percent of the study participants found the treatment very effective or effective; 51 percent experienced slight or mild side effects. For more information, see the related journal article in Supportive Care in Cancer (abstract).
Ibrutinib (PCI-32765) Shows Activity Against Multiple Myeloma – Results from a preclinical study suggest that the investigational drug ibrutinib (PCI-32765) is active in multiple myeloma. Ibrutinib blocks activity of an enzyme called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (Btk). Btk is present both in antibody-producing cells and in cells called osteoclasts that remove bone tissue. Ibrutinib, which is being developed by the California-based biotech company Pharmacyclics together with Johnson & Johnson, is being investigated as a potential treatment for a number of different blood cancers. Two Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug in leukemia and lymphoma patients are about to start, and a Phase 2 trial in myeloma patients is ongoing. For more information, see the preclinical study results in the journal Blood (abstract) and the clinical trial description for the Phase 2 myeloma trial.
Blood Calcium Levels May Be An Independent Prognostic Factor In Multiple Myeloma – Results from a small Mexican study suggest that calcium levels in the blood may be an independent predictor of overall survival in multiple myeloma patients. Blood calcium levels typically rise during multiple myeloma, as loss of bone structure releases calcium into the blood. In this study, researchers compared the levels of hemoglobin, platelets, calcium, and a wide range of enzymes and proteins in the blood of healthy individuals and multiple myeloma patients. The level of calcium in a myeloma patient’s blood was the only factor that, on its own, correlated with overall survival. For more information, please see the study in Revista de investigación clínica (abstract).