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New Blood Cancer Drug May Benefit Patients Who Don’t Respond to Chemotherapy

December 04, 2015

From immunotherapy and surgery to chemotherapy, we’ve made several advancements in cancer treatment.

Unfortunately, some people aren’t as responsive to certain forms of treatment. Chemotherapy, which uses a combination of different drugs, has saved many lives but for some patients it doesn’t work.

However, a new study suggests that there may be more options in the future for patients who don’t respond to this treatment.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Leicester in England, examined the effectiveness of a new inhibitor, ONO/GS-4059, for the treatment of two types of blood cancer: chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-hodgkin lymphoma. The first-in-human study involved 90 patients for whom chemotherapy wasn’t effective.

Beginning in 2012, researchers tracked patients who had been given ONO/GS-4059, a drug that targets BTK, a protein that enables the growth of cancer cells. After three years, researchers found that patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia showed the best response to the drug and that there were no noticeable toxicities. Quality of life for many patients also improved.

The results of this clinical trial are really promising because chemotherapy may not be an option for some patients, depending on their stage and type of cancer and how they respond to treatment. Chemotherapy — while effective — also comes with side effects such as fatigue that make it difficult for some patients to carry on with everyday activities.

In the study, researchers said that patients went from experiencing fatigue and tiredness to living normal, active lives again. We still need to do more research on ONO/GS-4059, but if the drug enables patients to get better and avoid toxicities, then that is a big win for how we treat cancer.

Researchers plan to do more studies on ONO/GS-4059, testing the drug in combination with other therapies. If results are consistent, it could pave the way for the clinical development of the drug.

With every successful clinical trial, we get closer to saving more lives. This study gives more hope to people with cancer who thought their treatment options were limited. Results like these show that we can still break new ground in the fight against cancer.