ASH 2013: Dr. Byrd on the New Data on Ibrutinib and Obinutuzumab in CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia)
Dr. Byrd reminds us that it is the usual suspects are the few unlucky ones who do relapse on ibrutinib, mostly those of us who have been heavily pretreated and/or are 17p deleted.
What is the happy surprise is that the side effects seem to get less common the longer we take Imbruvica and there is a hint (see this NIH research by Dr. Farooqui whom I subsequently interviewed at ASCO 2014), that our immunity improves. Certainly the number of infections diminishes over time.
Dr. Byrd also answers my questions on the exciting monoclonal antibody obinutuzumab (Gazyva) and the new study results presented at ASH.
There are many reasons to be excited about this antibody. Despite the fact that the trial was rigged by choosing the wimpy chlorambucil as its sparing partner, Gazyva is the first therapy when used with chlorambucil to show a survival advantage in the difficult to treat mostly elderly patents who have other medical problems (co-morbidities) such as kidney disease that may take many therapies off the table. This trial is offering hope where there is a pressing need.
We get into some of the details of how the drug is different from other antibodies. Dr. Byrd discusses how its engineering was specifically directed to make it different and probably better than rituximab. We also discuss its potentially nasty and quick infusion reaction and why that may not be such a bad thing.
Enjoy Dr. Byrd.