New Blood Cancer Study

There are new results of a blood cancer study that is considered by the scientists as outstanding in tackling the previously untreatable forms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The team from the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust focused on treating patients with CLL within the Hope Clinical Trials Facility.

Following a world-first clinical trial of a new drug to treat particular blood cancers, the results of the international trial led by Dr. Harriet Walter and Professor Martin Dyer were published in the journal Blood that looked at the efficacy of a new inhibitor, ONO/GS-4059, in the treatment of CLL and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma patients.  ONO/GS-4059 targets BTK, which is a protein essential for the survival and proliferation of the tumor cells.

There were 90 patients enrolled in different centers in the UK and in France, with 28 from Leicester.  Those with CLL showed the best response and most were still involved in the study after 3 years without notable toxicities.

Researchers report the long-term follow-up results in their new paper that was funded by the Ernest and Helen Scott Haematological Research Institute, ONO Pharmaceuticals, Gilead Pharmaceuticals and the Cancer Research UK Leicester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.  The Clinical Trials Facility based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary was funded by the local charity Hope Against Cancer.

Professor Martin Dyer said this current paper describes the long term follow-up and shows that in patients with CLL the remissions are durable and associated with no new toxicities.  They also have shown in collaboration with Sistemas Genomicos, a Valencia company, that mutations associated with aggressive disease respond well to treatment with ONO/GS-4059.

Maintained efficacy without toxicity is shown in the long-term follow up.  This is also the first report of long-term follow-up of a selective BTK inhibitor, which is excellent news for patients. The results are based on an international clinical study involving the UK, France, Japan and U.S., and was led by Leicester and is a Phase 1 clinical study.  They are in the early stages of testing the drug’s effectiveness.

Currently clinical studies of ONO/GS-4059 are being conducted in combination with other precision medicines to assess if these results can be enhanced in patients with CLL and other B cell malignancies.

Hope Against Cancer has funded some of Professor Dyer’s work.  Dyer is a long-standing collaborator and recipient of Hope’s funding and they are delighted this is being put to such important use in meeting their charity’s mission of improving the lives of cancer patients locally.

Dr Fredda Branyon