July, 2024
July 2024
Sylvester cancer expert endorses FDA approval of new drug
Jul 1, 2024, 09:25

Sylvester cancer expert endorses FDA approval of new drug

The drug, imetelstat, provides a new option for patients suffering from anemia from their cancer.

Dr. Mikkael Sekeres is an expert in blood cancers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center – University of Miami Health System. He served as chair of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee for the trial that led to imetelstat vote of support at the FDA this week.

Imetelstat, also known as Rytelo, is telomerase inhibitor for the treatment of transfusion-dependent anemia in patients with lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). It will be used for the treatment of certain adult patients with low- to intermediate-1 risk MDS who have not responded to, or have lost response to, or are ineligible for erythropoietin stimulating agents (ESA) used to aid blood transfusions.

With the approval of the drug imetelstat to treat myelodysplastic syndromes, we finally have another approach we can offer to patients with profound and debilitating anemia from their cancer – one that is effective in 40% of patients, and long-lasting, with patients going one year without requiring blood transfusions. We have even shown that patients feel better on imetelstat, with lower rates of fatigue.

“Some 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with MDS annually. Anemia typically affects people 70 years or older. No treatment options have been available for anemia after ESAs lose their effectiveness,” – said Dr. Sekeres.

Dr. Sekeres is chief of the Division of Hematology at Sylvester and his specialty focuses on leukemia and myeloid disorders. He has served on the editorial boards for several medical journals and chairs scientific advisory boards for patient advocacy groups and research funding agencies. He has been the primary study investigator on dozens of phase I,II and III clinical trials, and has authored over 450 scientific articles. He is also an expert on CAR-T cell therapy causing t-cell malignancies issues.

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