New drug combination for multiple myeloma treatment

Researches at the RCSI found that venetolax, currently approved for leukaemia, has benefits for patients with this type of blood cancer when prescribed in combination with azacitidine

Max Ryan

April 15, 2024

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  • Venetoclax, a medication currently approved for leukaemia, has benefits for patients with multiple myeloma when used in combination with another drug, RCSI research has found. 

    Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that is newly diagnosed in around 400 people in Ireland each year. Despite treatment advances in recent years, it remains incurable. 

    Researchers at the RCSI Department of Physiology and Medical Physics and the Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre aimed to identify complementary drugs that would enhance the efficiency of venetoclax for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

    Although previously tested in multiple myeloma patients, venetoclax, which blocks the function of a protein called BCL-2, was only found to be effective for a small proportion of patients.  

    The researchers discovered that combining venetoclax with a drug called 5-azacytidine significantly increased its effectiveness across many multiple myeloma cell lines, indicating a broader potential patient population that could be treated with the new combination. 

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