New drug could spell the end of chemotherapy

THE successful trial of a new leukaemia drug could herald the end of chemotherapy as the main weapon against the blood cancer, says an Australian specialist.

The results of human trials show the drug ibrutinib could save people with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) after the disease develops resistance to chemotherapy.

It gives them a much better chance of survival than the standard treatment, according to a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

More than four in 10 patients on ibrutinib entered remission, compared with four in 100 on the standard treatment, says Dr Con Tam of Melbourne's Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

CLL is the most common form of leukaemia in Australia and other Western countries. About 50 per cent of people with the disease never develop serious symptoms and don't need treatment.


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