Blinatumomab: a less toxic alternative to chemotherapy

Some children with cancer are receiving a new type of drug treatment that is reportedly far less toxic than chemotherapy.

Blinatumomab, sold under the brand name Blincyto, is a biopharmaceutical medication used as a second-line treatment for Philadelphia chromosome-negative relapsed or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

It can be administered on the go, as opposed to simply in the hospital, though the kit must be topped up every four days or so. It can be an alternative option for those for whom chemo failed.

Blina comes in a bag of liquid administered through a thin plastic tube that remains running into a vein in the patient’s arm for many months. A battery-operated pump controls how quickly the drug trickles into the bloodstream – a bag can last days, reports the BBC.

All of the kit can be carried in a backpack smaller than an A4 textbook, making it fully portable.

Doctors say blina can replace big chunks of chemo – perhaps up to 80% of it.

Another targeted immunotherapy drug, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T), has also recently become available. It is more expensive than blina. The patient’s own cells must be taken and then altered in the lab before being given back as the medicine, which takes time.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here