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Trial Shows Results for Multiple Myeloma Therapy

Myeloma cells (NIH)

Myeloma cells (NIH)

Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Emeryville, California says that a clinical trial of its drug carfilzomib showed a sizable percentage of patients with multiple myeloma responded to treatment and for a relatively long period of time. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow.

Carfilzomib is a proteasome inhibitor that blocks the action of proteasomes, which are large protein complexes that help destroy other cellular proteins when they are no longer needed. The phase 2 trial involved 266 patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, who had received a median of five previous lines of therapy.

The company says about a quarter (24.1%) of the subjects had at least a partial response to the carfilzomib treatment, with a median duration of response of 8.3 months. The clinical benefit rate of the drug — defined as having at least a minimal response — was about a third (34%) of the subjects. The median overall survival was 15.5 months.

Onyx says no new or unexpected toxicities were found in the overall study population. The most common adverse effects were low blood platelet count and anemia.

The data are expected to be presented 7 December at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in Orlando, Florida.

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