Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Long Live Zevalin

I'm not getting through the ASCO posts as quickly as I have wanted to. There's some interesting stuff, but nothing that has really blown anyone away -- at least not anything dealing with Follicular Lymphoma.

But here's another good one: "Single center experience of 90Y-Ibritumomab tiuxetan in the older population with non-hodgkin lymphoma."

90Y-Ibritumomab tiuxetan is better known as Zevalin, the RadioImmunoTherapy treatment that has never gotten the love from the oncology community that it has deserved. This study looked at patients from one treatment center who were given Zevalin as a consolidation treatment (a treatment given soon after an initial treatment as a way of trying to clean up more of the cancer) or a salvage treatment (a follow-up treatment after one that didn't work). The patients were older, and the results were very good: an 89% Overall Response Rate, with 36% of patients in the consoloidation group going from a Partial Response in their first treatment to a Complete Response with the Zevalin; and 55% of patients responding in the salvage group.

Great numbers, right?

It's one more study in a long line of studies that show how effective Zevalin can be for NHL, and FL in particular.

So why is there no love for Zevalin?

Lots of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it's tough to find someone who can or will administer Zevalin. That's been the case from the beginning, for reasons that have nothing to do with its effectiveness as a treatment.

And now, Zevalin might be gone for good.

Here is a link for an excellent article from Jamie Reno, a great writer and Lymphoma Rock Star in his own right. He's a Follicular Lymphoma survivor himself -- someone who benefit from Zevalin. He describes the problems that Zevalin is facing, and why it might be going away (again, it has nothing to do with its effectiveness).

The article quotes Betsy De Parry, another author and FL survivor, thanks to Zevalin, and Karl Schwartz, President of Patients Against Lymphoma/Lymphomation -- all the Lymphoma Rock Star advocates are getting in on this one!

And we need them to. We all need to get in on this one. I always use the phrase "another arrow in the quiver," which is the phrase that Dr. C used -- the lymphoma specialist I saw a few days after I was diagnosed. It means another weapon that we have in reserve. For FL patients, we have a lot of weapons, and better ones on the way.

But it still hurts to think that a really good arrow might be taken away for good. Let's hope that doesn't happen, and let's thank the folks who are trying to make sure that it doesn't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Intersesting article, Bob. I work for a pharma company in Canada, and we recently partnered with Spectrum to offer Zevalin to Canadian patients.( as an Indolent NHL survivor, I often joke to my colleagues that one day the company I work for may save my life!) It should be available to patients in Canada next year. Apparently, it will not be administerd by Oncologists here, but by Nuclear Medicine specialists. I hope another alternative is found in the U.S so that this drug can keep being offered.
Thanks again for all the info you provide! We're all in this together!