Bortezomib for Multiple Myeloma Touted as First Line Treatment in the U.K.

Myeloma Stats At a GlanceThe National Institute for Health and Care Excellence {NICE} in the U.K. approved Bortezomib for multiple myeloma treatment on March 21, 2014. This serious, and often fatal blood cancer affects roughly 4500 patients in the U.K. each year. Multiple myeloma is projected to afflict about 24,000 new patients in the United States in 2014, with almost half of these patients finding this disease to be fatal. Known as the brand name Velcade and marketed by Johnson & Johnson, Bortezomib is now recommended by NICE to be used as a first line therapy in combination with other best in care treatments for patients who may be eligible for high-dose chemotherapy. Bortezomib for Multiple Myeloma treatment is also supported by NICE for those patients who are receiving bone marrow transplants. The stance from NICE at this juncture is that there is a clear benefit for treatment with Bortezomib in patients with multiple myeloma and in need of a bone marrow transplant, as this potent drug enables patients to undergo successful bone marrow transplants and also cease the progression of the disease for longer periods of time.

Bortezomib is part of the class of anti-cancer drugs that are deemed proteasome inhibitors, and it is particularly effectual for patients with multiple myeloma, as it targets myeloma cells by causing a rapid reduction in paraprotein levels. Bortezomib is typically administered in a hospital setting and dispensed intravenously. Other chemotherapy drugs, such as Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide are given concomitantly with Bortezomib, as well as along with the steroid dexamethasone. The frequency of treatment and dosage amounts are based on each individual patient. People who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma have shown in clinical studies to benefit greatly from this formidable drug.

bortezomibIn a clinical trial coined VISTA a sizable 70 percent of patients demonstrated a partial or complete response after being treated with Bortezomib, Melphalan and Prednisolone. Those patients who showed a complete response remained progression free for an average of 17 months. Those patients who demonstrated a partial response consisted of 43 percent of the trial participants and they were able to sustain a treatment free period of two years or longer. As a top performer for Johnson & Johnson Velcade (Bortezomib) has enjoyed a 10.7 percent increase in sales for 2013.

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