Recent FDA approved cancer treatment Imbruvica (Ibrutinib) offers promise for treating certain types of blood cancer and lymph node cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia.
Imbruvica is a cancer drug administered by pill. Unlike traditional chemotherapy treatments, which often attack the patient’s cancer cells along with their healthy cells, Imbruvica is a targeted therapy that “targets” cancer cells, while doing less damage to healthy cells.
This cancer treatment shows promise in recent studies, helping patients live without cancer spreading and living longer compared to those patients who did not take Imbruvica.
How Imbruvica Treats Cancer
Imbruvica combats certain types of blood cancers by stopping an enzyme called BTK (Bruton’s lyrosine kinase), which are found in excess within the cancer cell. By blocking these enzymes from multiplying, this action helps prevent cancer cells from spreading.
What Side Effects May Occur?
Taking Imbruvica can cause some patients to experience low blood cell counts that might lead to infection and bleeding, diarrhea, fatigue and rashes.
If a patient experiences serious bleeding, signs of infection, such as a fever, or irregular heart beating, these could be signs of more serious common sign effects.
Imbruvica may also cause fetal harm, so it is important for the patient to not be patient when undergoing this treatment or to become pregnant while taking the drug. In addition, it can get into breast milk, so breast feeding during this treatment is not recommended.
New targeted cancer therapies like Imbruvica are an important medical advancement helping us to treat cancer in a more effective way with less side effects.
Imbruvica is made by Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech.
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Learn more about targeted therapy cancer treatment.