AstraZeneca Outlook: Calquence for Mantle Cell Myloma

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Mantle cell lymphoma is a very rare yet fast proliferating type of blood cancer. This particular cancer typically, known to occur both as Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma) affects the lymphatic system (which includes the lymphocytes, lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, and bone marrow). Disturbingly, by the time mantle lymphoma is diagnosed, cancer cells have already migrates to other parts of the body like the digestive tract, liver, and spleen.

In the United States, more than 3,300 cases of mantle cell lymphoma are diagnosed every year. In light of these occurrences, medical professionals developed certain drugs that can be used to treat mantle cell lymphoma. Right now, one of the hottest names when it comes to treating mantle cell lymphoma is the drug Calquence. Learn more about this drug in the overview below.

What does Calquence do?

            Calquence (acalabrutinib) is a drug that was developed by Acerta Pharma (AstraZeneca’s research group) for patients with mantle cell lymphoma who have already received one prior session of therapy. In September 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given Calquence an orphan drug designation. Two years later (October 2017), the drug has finally received the approval to be used as a treatment for mantle cell lymphoma.

  • In terms of its mechanism of action, Calquence is a selective inhibitor of the protein known as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), which is responsible for the proliferation of the cancerous B-cells. By binding covalently to the BTK cysteine residues, the drug is able to hinder its activity.
  • Aside from that, the drug also works in the activation of the mechanisms for B-cell trafficking, adhesion, and chemotaxis
  • Calquence is orally taken as 100 mg capsules. Usually, patients are prescribed with 1-4 capsules daily, depending on their conditions.

Side effects of Calquence

            Like any other strong drugs for cancer, Calquence is associated with some adverse reactions. Some of the most common side effects experienced by patients include low red blood cell and platelet counts, headaches, fatigue, bruising, and diarrhea.

  • Because of these side effects, great caution should be taken when using this drug with proton inhibitors and CYP3A4 inhibitors.
  • At present, studies are being done to evaluate the effect of the drug when combined with other drugs like rituximab and bendamustine.

Rivalry with other drug competitors

            In general, its producers claim that both the level of safety and efficacy of the drug is fairly comparable to its rivals. Other drugs that are used for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma includes Celgene Corporation’s Revlimid (lenalidomide) and Janssen Biotech and Pharmacyclics’ IMBRUVICA, with the latter being its largest competitor.

            Overall, the approval of the drug symbolizes the latest advancements of the world’s cancer research as well as the continuing efforts of biotechnology researchers to discover and develop prescription medicines. In the future, more and more drugs of this kind are expected to emerge and bring new light for cancer patients.

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