Combo of drugs could be used to treat Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia patients

A medicine regime that can be taken at home could mean patients suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia will be much less likely to need hospital chemotherapy.

About 320 people are diagnosed in New Zealand each year with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia – referred to as CLL.

It is the most common form of leukaemia in this country.

But two major leukaemia studies presented at a recent global blood cancer conference in December, the American Society of Haematology, have shown the use of the drug IMBRUVICA in combination with venetoclax can be successful as a first option of treatment for CLL patients.

The drugs have been used to treat CLL separately but the two recent studies – named CAPTIVATE and GLOW – found their combination was highly successful in treating patients.

Patients took the drugs over 15 months and 97 per cent in one study and 84.5 per cent in the other were still alive after five years.

Listen to haematologist Dr Sharon Jackson from Middlemore Hospital and patient Kylie Soo, who is now in remission discuss the treatment regime: Combo of drugs could be used to treat leukaemia patients