New treatment options for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – There are new treatment options for people living with the most common form of chronic blood cancer.

Dr. Jaqueline Barrientos, Director of Oncology research at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, said there have been advancements in a class of drugs known as B.T.K. inhibitors, which are used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or C.L.L.

A second generation B.T.K. inhibitor, called Zanubrutinib, was recently approved as another front-line approach to the disease, but with less toxicity.

“So we’re very excited because there are also data to support if you are on one drug and you cannot tolerate it because of the side effects, which can range from headache to G.I. discomfort or muscle aches, you can actually go to the second generation, between both of them, have a really good response and be well tolerated. So that’s why it’s important for us to have the choice,” said Barrientos.

Barrientos said another new type of B.T.K inhibitor is improving the treatment of patients with relapsed C.L.L.

According to the American Cancer Society, C.L.L. accounts for one quarter of all new cases of leukemia in the U.S.

And disturbing news from a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association which showed the death rate of children and teens in the U.S. surged during the height of the pandemic.

Researchers said the number of kids dying increased nearly 11-percent in 2020 and eight percent in 2021 which represents the largest spike in decades.

The study said the rise in deaths were not driven by COVID-19 but by fatal injuries from things like guns, drugs, and cars.

About the Authors:

Kristi Krueger has built a solid reputation as an award-winning medical reporter and effervescent anchor. She joined Local 10 in August 1993. After many years co-anchoring the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., Kristi now co-anchors the noon newscasts, giving her more time in the evening with her family.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.