Thanks to researchers and to clinical trial participant patients around the world, and as a result of research funded by the IWMF and its International affiliates, significant progress has been made in recent years in developing and using treatments specifically for WM patients.
The latest news about ibrutinib (Imbruvica) approvals in England and Australia shows great promise, as we look for further approvals around the world for it and for other targeted therapies that are currently under development and in clinical trials.
On September 28th, 2017, the UK issued a news release announcing the approval of ibrutinib for relapsed WM patients in England through the Cancer Drugs Fund.
Roger Brown, the IWMF Affiliate Leader of WMUK, stated the following: “Ibrutinib approval is a quantum leap for Waldenström’s patients and it is our first targeted treatment. For many patients it will also avoid repeated grueling chemotherapy.” You can read more about it at www.wmuk.org.uk/news/ibrutinib-finally-approved-for-wm.
For Australians, it was announced that ibrutinib would be approved for treatment of CLL and SLL patients only, but the hope is that approval for WM may come in the near future. You can read more about the approval and the significant cut in costs to patients here.
Andrew Warden, the IWMF Affiliate Leader of WMOzzies, stated recently on IWMF Connect (the IWMF’s online discussion group):
“Regrettably the subsidy applies only for the more common Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma. There is an urgent need for advocacy for funding for the more rare WM patients. It is hoped that last week's positive decision on government funding for ibrutinib for CLL and SLL patients will provide a solid foundation for the WM advocacy campaign.”
Obviously, there is more work to be done in order to obtain better treatments and possibly a cure for WM. Efforts by the IWMF, its affiliates and partners, and WM patients and caregivers will help significantly to make that possible! Give – volunteer – participate – advocate!