Marking another promising advance for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, including those with a rare subset of this blood cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted priority review for an investigational compound that has shown positive results in a Phase II clinical trial.
Venetoclax has shown great potential as a new way of treating CLL patients who have received at least one prior therapy. It also appears to be effective for patients with a rare subset in which a piece of chromosome 17 is missing. Venetoclax works by inhibiting the BCL-2 protein and enabling a signaling system that tells cells, including cancer cells, to self-destruct.
More than 126,000 patients in the U.S. currently live with CLL, a typically slow-moving blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow. Of those CLL patients who do not respond to therapy, or who have relapsed, approximately 30 percent are found to have a mutation in which they are missing part of chromosome 17.
A Priority Review designation is granted to medicines that the FDA believes have the potential to provide significant improvement in the treatment, prevention or diagnosis of a disease. The compound was granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation in April 2015 in order to expedite its development and review.
Congress has approved a $2 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health. The 6.6 percent hike -- to $32.1 billion -- is the largest increase in 12 years and it will make an enormous difference in supporting cancer research in the years ahead.
The bill includes a $264 million increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute (boosting NCI funding for the year to $5.2 billion – a 5.3% increase) as well as $200 million in funding for a precision medicine initiative dedicated to accelerating the design and testing of effective, tailored treatments for cancer.
Survivorship Series: A California mom talks about how she learned to rest, relax and renew
Do you feel stuck in your world of cancer? I used to.
Now, in my author bio, I usually list myself as a writer, mommy, yogini, daughter, editor, sister, and napper extraordinaire. Notice how I skipped over that I’m in remission from leukemia? I’m not lying by omission, it’s just not a big deal to who I am because I’ve moved beyond cancer as my identity. And you can, too.
Think of yourself as a “recoverer” from cancer. The more you positively believe you are recovering, the better you will feel about the situation.
Whether you’re in the middle of treatments or a couple of years out from diagnosis, don’t let blood cancer be the sole focus of your life. Remember you are a recoverer, not a victim or someone doing battle with your own body.