Thousands of leukaemia sufferers could be spared chemotherapy thanks to a new two-in-one treatment that’s been found to keep twice as many patients free of the disease. The drugs also cause fewer side effects, meaning patients can carry on with life as normal.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, known as CLL, affects white blood cells, breaking down the body’s ability to fight infection and is rarely cured completely. Instead, patients live with the cancer, undergoing treatment to control it for as long as possible.
Because the disease develops slowly, doctors have to wait until there is enough cancer in the blood to warrant aggressive treatment.
While patients can be declared cancer-free after chemo, the leukaemia eventually returns, requiring further rounds.
Thousands of leukaemia sufferers could be spared chemotherapy thanks to a new two-in-one treatment that’s been found to keep twice as many patients free of the disease
Typically, a first period of cancer-free remission lasts for three years, but each time chemotherapy is used it becomes less effective.
Roughly 70 per cent of patients survive five years or more with the disease. However, the odds fall the longer a patient has it and the older they are. About 3,700 people in the UK are diagnosed with CLL every year, with 1,000 deaths.
The newly approved combination of the drugs venetoclax and obinutuzumab, given the green light earlier this month by regulators at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, allows patients to forgo chemotherapy completely.…