ZURICH Dec 6 An experimental drug from Novartis
to treat a type of bone marrow cancer met its primary
goal in a late-stage study, the Swiss drugmaker said on Friday.
A Phase III trial found the drug, dubbed LBH589 when
combined with bortezomib and dexamethasone, significantly
extended progression-free survival in patients with relapsed or
relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma compared to bortezomib
and dexamethasone alone.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer that starts in plasma cells in
bone marrow and disrupts the production of normal blood cells.
It affects approximately 1 to 5 in every 100,000 people
worldwide each year and typically occurs in those aged over 50.
Novartis said the drug has the potential to become one of
the first in a new class of treatments for the incurable
"Given its mechanism of action, LBH589 has the potential to
be an important treatment option for multiple myeloma," said
Novartis Global Head of Oncology Alessandro Riva.
LBH589 works by blocking a key cancer cell enzyme which
causes cell stress and leads to death of these cells. Full
results of the data will be presented at an upcoming meeting,
German Biotech company MorphoSys and Celgene
are also working on treatments for multiple myeloma.