Relapse is not a word that cancer patients want to hear. There may be good news on the horizon, however, for those with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia and indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Idelalisib, a new drug from Gilead, has shown some very promising results in recent studies.
Both chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (iNHL) are cancers that involve white blood cells. In CLL patients, the body produces too many abnormal lymphocytes; they crowd out healthy blood cells and lead to anemia, bleeding and infections. In NHL patients, the cancerous white blood cells can arise anywhere in the lymphatic system: lymph nodes, spleen, thymus and even tonsils. Enlarged lymph nodes, fever and weight loss are characteristic. In both diseases, previously treated patients can relapse multiple times. With each relapse, the disease can become increasingly refractory to standard treatment regimens.
Enter idelalisib, an investigational drug that inhibits the PI3K delta signaling system. PI3K delta is involved with the activation, growth and