Ibrutinib is a targeted therapy known as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Tyrosine kinases are proteins on the cell’s surface, which control the growth of the cell. Ibrutinib acts against the cancer cells by blocking the protein signals that causes the cancer cells to grow. In previous clinical trials ibrutinib displayed success in treating several types of lymphoma including mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Results from the MCL trial resulted in a 68% response rate for patients and led to its accelerated approval by the FDA.
Despite this breakthrough for patients with MCL, researchers found that a majority of patients who participated in the trial developed a resistance to the drug resulting in faster tumor growth. However, in results recently published in Cancer Discovery, our researchers detected two patterns of resistance in patients with MCL that may be responsible for their patient acquired resistance to ibrutinib. Based on these findings our clinicians developed two new dual treatment strategies that sought to account for these new findings.
This research and development of treatment strategies led to a National Cancer Institute sponsored trial at Weill Cornell testing the practical implications of our research with a combination of palbociclib and ibrutinib. The impetus for the formation of this trial was the research performed in our Lymphoma Program. It exemplifies our bench to bedside approach and activity in not just the care of patients, but also the research into further treatments.