The FDA has approved elotuzumab, a blood cancer treatment that stimulates the immune system to fight off cancerous cells.
The drug was developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie nad will be marketed under the name Empliciti.
Empliciti will be used in combination with two other drugs to treat patients with multiple myeloma who have received one to three prior courses of medication.
Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that forms in plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cells. The cancerous cells take over healthy blood cells in the bone marrow, which in turn leads to kidney problems when the cancer cells make abnormal proteins instead of antibodies.
There were about 27,000 cases of multiple myeloma in the United States so far this year. More than 11,000 people die each year because of the disease.
Empliciti works to activate the body’s immune system to fend off the cancerous cells.
A clinical trial of more than 600 participants found that the drug could delay the spread of cancer in when used with cancer drug Revlimid and steroid dexamethasone. That delay translated to a 30% relative reduction of risk that the disease would progress to the point of death.
You can read the full study published in the August edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.