ASH 2014: One Cycle of Blincyto Effective Against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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This presentation discussed a trial in which patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) would benefit from a single cycle of an immunotherapy agent known as Blincyto (blinatumomab).

This international phase II trial, known as BLAST, examined whether blinatumomab could achieve a complete MRD response after a single cycle in 116 ALL patients with a hematologic complete remission who had not had a prior allogeneic stem cell transplant. All patients were administered one cycle of blinatumomab and were then assessed for MRD and continued on trial for up to three subsequent blinatumomab cycles.

Results showed that following just one cycle of the CD19-based immunotherapy blinatumomab, 78 percent of patients with ALL achieved what is known as complete minimal residual disease (MRD) response. This means that no trace of any cancerous cells could be found, according to the most sensitive tests available. In the past, MRD was responsible for the majority of relapses among patients, so it became important to be able to determine how much disease remained in a patient after treatment.

A complete MRD response occurred in 80 percent of patients throughout the the course of blinatumomab therapy.

Blinatumomab features a CD19-directed antibody linked to a CD3-directed antibody portion. This is part of an emerging class of bispecific T-cell engagers (BiTEs) that elicit an immune response against tumor cells.

The FDA approved Blincyto for ALL a little over a week ago.

These results were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Source: ASH 2014

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