World News – AU – Government funds a unique drug to fight blood cancer


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Sydney, Australia, Jan.. December 2020 – Federal government funding for a world-class drug to treat a common and deadly form of blood cancer, multiple myeloma, by activating the patient’s immune system to identify and kill cancer cells, is funded by medical experts, patients and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson welcomed.

From the 1st. From January 1st, 2021, Darzalex® (daratumumab) will be available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for Australians with multiple myeloma whose disease progresses after initial treatment. It is used after a previous line of treatment in combination with the existing drugs bortezomib and dexamethasone.

Darzalex will be the first new type of medicine for multiple myeloma to be included on the PBS in more than a decade. It is a targeted therapy that binds to a specific protein on the surface of a multiple myeloma cell, thereby causing the patient’s immune system to attack and destroy multiple myeloma cancer cells.

Estimated 1. 000 Australians can be treated with Darzalex each year. Eligible patients now pay $ 41. 30 (general patients) or $ 6. 60 (concession patients) for each treatment phase *.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that affects plasma cells in the bone marrow. This year Australia is expected to have more than 2. 000 new cases of multiple myeloma diagnosed, and approximately 1. 000 people will lose their lives as a result of the disease.

Professor Andrew Spencer, Head of the & Stem Cell Transplant Service for Malignant Hematology at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, and one of the doctors involved in Australian clinical trials with Darzalex welcomed the new grant, highlighting the serious need for new drugs to control multiple myeloma.

“Multiple myeloma is a very challenging cancer. It’s linked to high relapse rates, resistance to treatment, and poor prognosis, ”he said.

« After years of research, we now have an entirely new type of treatment to suppress cancer during a critical window – when a patient becomes unresponsive to initial treatment or their cancer returns after initial treatment, » he said.

“Myeloma becomes increasingly difficult to treat after each relapse. The PBS grant is only valid after a patient has previously received a line of treatment, allowing patients to have access to Darzalex at the onset of their disease progression. ”

Professor H. . Miles Prince AO, director of Molecular Oncology and Cancer Immunology, Epworth Healthcare and the Center for Blood Cell Therapies at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, stated that the 5-year survival rate for people with multiple myeloma is only 51 percent, which means « about » one in two Patient dies within five years of diagnosis. « .

« Darzalex is a novel drug that targets the Achilles’ heel of the myeloma cancer cell while activating the body’s immune system to attack the cancer, » he said.

“This is the first time that we can attack myeloma cancer cells directly while using the immune system against the cancer. ”

According to Steve Roach, CEO of Myeloma Australia, Darzalex is « the first major advance in the treatment of multiple myeloma in more than 10 years ». . 7

« Multiple myeloma claims the lives of far too many Australians. Patients and their families understand this reality. Darzalex’s PBS listing means eligible patients have access to much-needed treatment with no financial burden. This is an important milestone that is very much welcomed across the country, ”he said.

Bruce Goodwin, General Manager of Janssen Australia and New Zealand, said, “Our company has a long and proud history in the treatment of multiple myeloma. Darzalex’s PBS list offers doctors and patients a new way to combat this less common and deadly form of blood cancer. « .

« The federal government is to be commended for its significant investment in making important new drugs such as Darzalex available to needy Australians, » he said.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that affects plasma cells in the bone marrow. Myeloma affects several places in the body (hence « multiple myeloma ») where the bone marrow is normally active in adults, including the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, chest, and the areas around the shoulders and hips.

As the cancer cells grow and spread, they can lead to bone pain and fractures, frequent infections, kidney damage, and anemia.

The disease has a poor prognosis and calls for around 1 year a year. 000 Australian fatalities. Multiple myeloma is characterized by high relapse rates, even if initial treatment leads to remission. Typically, after each relapse, the cancer becomes more aggressive and difficult to treat.

Darzalex is a world class immunotherapy known as CD38-targeted monoclonal antibody. The therapy binds to CD38, a signaling molecule on the surface of multiple myeloma cells. In this way, Darzalex triggers the patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells, which leads to tumor cell death.

Based on extensive research, Darzalex is indicated for the treatment of multiple myeloma either alone or in combination with other therapies at various stages of the disease. Darzalex will be available through the PBS for the treatment in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone in patients with multiple myeloma after a previous line of treatment.

Darzalex is given by infusion – initially every week, then every three weeks, and then monthly until the cancer progresses.

All medicines can have side effects. Darzalex can cause infusion-related reactions and increase the incidence of upper respiratory infections. Other possible side effects seen when using Darzalex in combination with bortezomib and dexamethasone include a decrease in blood cell counts, peripheral sensory neuropathy, diarrhea, cough, fatigue, constipation, and back pain.

Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissue Tumors, Leukemia, Multiple Myeloma, Medicine

World News – AU – Government funds a unique drug to fight blood cancer
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