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ASH 2013:Dr. John Pagel Discusses the Risks and Benefits of ABT-199 and TRU-016 in CLL (chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia)

By Bkoffman
In the final segment of my interview with Dr. Pagel from ASH 2013, he discusses ABT-199 and TRU-016 or otlertuzumab (yet another mouthful for us to poor patients to learn and pronounce).
We have heard much already about ABT-199. Here is a link to a trial reported at last year's ASCO meeting and I have an interview pending from ASH 2013 with Dr. Seymour from Australia. At ASCO later this week, there will more news on ABT-199 with a new dosing schedule to reduce the risks of tumor lysis syndrome (TLS).
TRU-016 is another under reported therapy, a potent monoclonal antibody (MAb), much like rituximab, that is as of now only available in clinical trials. Unlike rituximab or ofatumumab or even obinutuzumab that all target CD20, TRU-016 targets CD37. But like CD20, CD37 is also found on most mature B cells, both cancerous and benign and much less so on T cells making it is a good choice for fighting CLL. That's an important difference from Campath that binds to CD52 and destroys both B and T cells. With no T  or B cells to fight infection coupled with our already wimpy immunity, we are high risk for life threatening infections. TRU-016 did not increase infection risk in this small trial.
Here is the ASCO abstract that compares bendamustine with or without TRU-016. The number were very small, but for those who received TRU-016 there was responses in the two patients with 17p mutations but not in the two with 17p deletions. As expected, there were no responses to single agent bendamustine.
And here is Dr. Pagel:

I am hoping to sneak one or two more post before I take off for ASCO 2014 later this week.

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