Can Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Drugs Help Myeloma Patients?

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Topics include: Treatment

Have researchers unlocked the potential of a commonly used myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) therapy to treat multiple myeloma? On location at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in Chicago, myeloma expert Dr. James Berenson, from the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, discusses promising clinical results for a JAK inhibitor typically used for MPNs to play a role in myeloma care. Dr. Berenson shares details on how scientists stumbled upon the ability of ruxolitinib, or Jakafi, to help fight against myeloma. How did the myeloma patient respond? Can combinations with this crossover therapy help myeloma patients achieve remission? Watch now to find out the latest myeloma treatment news.

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Transcript

And then we said aw, what the heck.  Let's go ahead and add back in that Jakafi, Jakafi drug, that ruxolitinib, and, oh, my God, he did great.  Blood counts normalized, and his myeloma has had a remission now for four or five years. He was a rather wealthy individual, so he said what can I do to help you?  You helped me.  I said you can give us the support, we'll go in the lab, figure it out.  We did.   

We went to the company, and then we went to FDA, and now we've completed a Phase I trial combining ruxolitinib, a drug never been effectively used in cancer of any type, Revlimid and Medrol or methylprednisolone, a steroid which we think is better tolerated than dex, and half the patients responded.  And all the responding patients were totally resistant to Revlimid, that is, they were progressing on or within eight weeks of their last dose. So this is a really big deal.  

And I think the biggest deal, and Andrew knows this, is how well these patients feel.  Now, we don't have objective measures in the trial, but I can tell you our patients, they're like, oh, I'm feeling so much better now that you added that ruxolitinib drug.  And now we're going to really objectively measure it.  

Andrew Schorr:

Wow. 

Dr. Berenson:

And these were really heavily pretreated patients. They'd had up to 10 prior therapies, a minimum of three, average of six, all had failed not only Revlimid but almost as well, except two, and everyone had seen a proteasome inhibitor, almost everyone bortezomib (Velcade), and most had failed also carfilzomib (Kyprolis). 

Andrew Schorr:

All right.  So let's make this point.  Please validate this for me.  In oncology, that happens, where a drug gets approved for one, and they say, well, gee, whether they find it out by accident, like the polio, you know, whatever, which was discovered that way, all these things where you say, here's theoretically maybe, this from column A will work with column B, and then it does.

Dr. Berenson:

Yeah.  But the other exciting thing is this came from a single patient, went to the lab, found a lot of new mechanisms through which they drug he was on, the ruxolitinib, is working, that the company didn't have a clue was working that way, and now that's even leading to other trials.  For example, the checkpoint inhibitors, which have been tried in myeloma, the drugs like nivolumab (Opdivo), the pembrolizumab (Keytruda)s, it turns out the ruxolitinib shuts down the markers that are the targets for those drugs. We think they may be good combinations too, and we hope to study that in the clinic over the next few months.

Andrew Schorr:

Wow.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on June 15, 2018