December 02, 2015 – The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just granted approval for Elotuzumab (Empliciti) in combination with two other therapies to treat people with multiple myeloma who have received one to three prior medications. Elotuzumab (Empliciti) is a monoclonal antibody against SLAMF7 that activates the body’s immune system to attack and kill multiple myeloma cells. It is approved in combination with another FDA-approved treatment for multiple myeloma called Lenalidomide (Revlimid) and Dexamethasone (a type of a Corticosteroid). Elotuzumab (Empliciti) is the second monoclonal antibody only approved to treat patients with
multiple myeloma. Daratumumab (Darzalex) against CD38 is the second approved monoclonal immune-stimulating antibody for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma; it was just approved by the FDA earlier this month; Thasso Post had a report on the fact.
The efficacy of Elotuzumab (Empliciti) was tested in a randomized, open-label clinical study of 646 participants whose multiple myeloma came back after, or did not respond to previous treatment. Those taking Elotuzumab (Empliciti) in combination with Lenalidomide (Revlimid) and Dexamethasone experienced a delay in the amount of time before their disease worsened (19.4 months) compared to participants taking a combination of Lenalidomide (Revlimid) and Dexamethasone (14.9 months) only.. Additionally, 78.5 percent of those taking Elotuzumab (Empliciti) with Lenalidomide (Revlimid) and Dexamethasone saw a complete or partial shrinkage of their tumors compared to 65.5 percent in those patients taking the combination of Lenalidomide (Revlimid) and Dexamethasone only.
There are adverse effects also. The most common adverse effects of Elotuzumab (Empliciti) are fatigue, diarrhea, fever (pyrexia), constipation, cough, nerve damage resulting in weakness or numbness in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), infection of the nose and throat (nasopharyngitis), upper respiratory tract infection, decreased appetite and pneumonia.
Of course, in multiple myeloma, any additional treatment option is highly welcomed. Multiple myeloma is a form of blood cancer that occurs in infection-fighting plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) found in the bone marrow. These cancerous cells multiply, produce an abnormal protein and push out other healthy blood cells from the bone marrow. This disease may result in a weakened immune system, and cause serious bone and kidney problems. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates there will be 26,850 new cases of multiple myeloma and 11,240 related deaths in the United States this year. No wonder then that both patients and treating physicians are looking forward to using the new treatment option in the fight against multiple myeloma. It is expected that Elotuzumab (Empliciti) will be available in other part of the world soon.
See also some comments on both of the two novel therapies for multiple myeloma: