Recently, a study known as ACE CL-309 (or ASCEND) reported success in their clinical trial on a drug called Calquence with patients that had relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  In other words, patients who either got treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and the disease returned or they didn’t respond to initial treatment. As a result, this phase 3 trial that was being conducted by the company AstraZeneca will be halted earlier than expected.

Open-label, meaning both the researchers and patients knew which treatments were being administered beforehand, this trial involved a total of 310 patients who were randomized to either take “Calquence or doctor’s choice of Rituxan (rituxumab) plus Zydelig (idealisib) or the older chemotherapy bendamustine” according to BioPharma Dive.  What the researchers found was the patients who took Calquence were doing better health-wise than those taking the other treatments.  With that said, AstraZeneca will soon be getting results from another phase 3 study they’re conducting called ACE CL-007 which compares the effectiveness of Calquence and Imbruvica.

About Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Also known as CLL, it is “A blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow and mainly affects older adults” according to BioPharma Dive.  Specifically, it develops from B cells (a white blood cell type).  Symptoms of this disease include fatigue, easy bruising, and swollen lymph nodes which may not appear until years after initial infection.  Currently, the popular treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia is Imbruvica though Calquence could be a contender depending on how future studies go.

About Imbruvica

Also known as Ibrutinib, this was a drug developed by the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson along with Pharmacyclics (before AbbVie acquired it).  With the ability to bind to and inhibit a protein called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, which plays a critical role in the development of B cells, it’s used to treat B cell-based cancers including chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

About Calquence

Like Imbruvica, it also binds to and inhibits Bruton’s tyrosine kinase.  Known as Acalabrutinib, AstraZeneca acquired this drug in 2016 and then it was approved the following year to treat mantle cell lymphoma.  Currently, it’s being tested to treat CLL.

About AstraZeneca

Located in Cambridge, England, it was created in 1999 after Sweden’s Astra AB pharmaceutical company merged with Britain’s Zeneca Group.  With other locations in Gaithersburg and Mölndal in Sweden along with Maryland in the United States, it specializes in products that treat various diseases including cancer.  This company has even made some acquisitions such as: MedImmune and Definiens, Spirogen, and Cambridge Antibody Technology.

Source: BioPharma Dive

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