Stillwater – January 2018: Empliciti (Elotuzumab)

Stillwater – January 10, 2018: Empliciti (Elotuzumab)

A frigid January 10 brought a full house for our first meeting of 2018. We were joined by Ima Garcia, of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals, who gave a presentation on their monoclonal antibody, Empliciti (elotuzumab).

Highlights from her presentation included:
One Disease, Many Drugs
The idea that MM patients will see many drugs during their course of their disease so there is a growing challenge of optimizing drug sequencing and matching: What drugs to use, which to use together, what order to use them as well as dosage & frequency for each drug.

What is Empliciti (elotuzumab)?
Empliciti is categorized as a “humanized monoclonal antibody”, putting it in the same family as duratumamab. Both drugs target receptors of the surface of a myeloma cell. In the case of Empliciti it is the SLAM-F7 receptor. The receptors not expressed in normal cells so Empliciti is a highly targeted drug with fewer side effects than many other similar therapies.

Empliciti acts two ways

1. Myeloma cells fool the body into thinking they are normal. Empliciti identifies myeloma cells so they are easier for the immune system to find and destroy.

2. It stimulates (activates) the body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells to find and destroy myeloma cells.

Encouraging Trial Results
Revlimid (lenalidomide) also stimulates NK cells so it pairs well with Empliciti, and , of course, Dex.
A a study was done of 646 patients who had been through 1-3 prior treatments comparing Emp/Rev/Dex to Rev/Dex.
• At 2-years 41% of the ERD group’s myeloma was “under control” compared to 27% for the RD group.
• At 4-years 21% of the ERD group’s myeloma was “under control” compared to 14% for the RD group.
• 4 out of 5 people respond to ERD treatment as opposed to 2 out of three for RD

Side Effects
Empliciti is highly targeted. It does not effect kidney or heart function, though it should be watched closely by those with liver problems. The initial infusion may cause a reaction similar to those seen with Darzalex but not as often as usually not as severe. Other side effects are the usual group we see with most myeloma drugs including fatigue, diarrhea, fever, constipation, cough, numbness, weakness, tingling, or burning pain in your arms or legs, sore throat or runny nose, upper respiratory tract infection, decreased appetite, pneumonia.

– Gerry Landy

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