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GSK announces breakthrough with blood cancer treatment drug Blenrep

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Biotech giant GSK has announced a potential breakthrough in the treatment of relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, with its Blenrep drug.

In an interim study, a cocktail of drugs was trialled, including one called Blenrep, which GSK found led to a “statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement”, meaning it helped patients live longer without the cancer getting worse.

Patients on the Blenrep combination had a 59 per cent lower risk of their disease getting worse or passing away compared to those on a standard combination.

GSK will today present the findings from the study, called DREAMM-7 at a major medical forum, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Plenary Series.

Senior vice president, global head oncology at GSK, Hesham Abdullah, said the results of the study could “redefine the treatment of multiple myeloma at or after first relapse.”

GSK plans to share the results with health authorities worldwide.

The side effects of the Blenrep combination were in line with what was already known about the individual drugs.

But, in November 2022, GSK stopped selling Blenrep in the US at the request of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), over safety concerns.

And in September last year, the EU’s drug regulator advised against renewing the conditional marketing authorisation for the drug.

Alongside the results of the DREAMM-7 study, GSK also said today China’s drug regulator, the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) had accepted for review the regulatory application of Shingrix for the prevention of shingles in adults aged 18 years and over at increased risk.

The company also said the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had accepted under priority review an application to extend the indication of GSK’s adjuvanted respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine to adults aged 50-59 who are at increased risk for RSV disease. If approved the treatment would be the first vaccine available to help protect this segment of the population.

GSK has recently faced a storm of legal battles relating to its heartburn treatment Zantac, many cases of which remain ongoing.

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