Novartis Hyping Potential Multiple Myeloma Treatment

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Pharmaceutical giant Novartis is reporting positive early results of a phase III trial involving the company's investigational compound known as LBH589, a pan-deacetylase inhibitor indicated for the treatment of heavily pretreated patients with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood's plasma cells.

Specifically, they are reporting that LBH589 in combination with the anti-cancer drug bortezomib and the corticosteroid dexamethasone out-performed bortezomib, dexamethasone, and a placebo in a trial, the primary end point of which was progression-free survival (PFS). Patients were said to have relapsed or relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma.

In a statement, Alessandro Riva, Global Head, Oncology Development and Medical Affairs, Novartis Oncology said:

Results from this study show improved outcomes for these multiple myeloma patients who otherwise have few options to treat this incurable disease. Given its mechanism of action, LBH589 has the potential to be an important treatment option for multiple myeloma.

The company will present complete data from this trial, called the PANORAMA-1 (PANobinostat ORAl in Multiple MyelomA) trial, at an upcoming medical conference. Novartis is one of at least three pharmaceutical companies currently working on a multiple myeloma treatment.

Currently there is no cure for multiple myeloma. Estimates put the number of new cases in the United States at around 22,000, and the number of deaths from the disease around 10,000.

It is important to note that progression-free survival is a dubious end-point, since it has not shown to extend survival times in cancer patients.

Source: Novartis

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