Dr. Kumar on the Rationale for Studying Venetoclax in Multiple Myeloma

Shaji K. Kumar, MD
Published Online: Monday, Dec 26, 2016



Shaji Kumar, MD, professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses the rationale for investigating venetoclax (Venclexta) as a treatment for patients with multiple myeloma.

According to Kumar, despite the advent of several new therapies in the past couple of years, multiple myeloma largely remains an incurable cancer. These new treatments have helped patients live much longer, he says, but novel therapeutics should turn towards targeting the underlying biology of this disease.

Venetoclax essentially does just that, as it is a drug designed to specifically inhibit the BCL-2 protein in the cancer cells found in patients with multiple myeloma. Oncologists know that the expression of BCL-2 proteins in myeloma cells is significantly high, making venetoclax an excellent targeted agent, explains Kumar.

Preclinical studies assessing venetoclax have already shown that the drug can effectively kill these myeloma cells that express BCL-2 proteins. Moreover, research has revealed specific subgroups of patients who are particularly sensitive to treatment with venetoclax, thus providing a strong rationale to continue investigating this agent in multiple myeloma.


Shaji Kumar, MD, professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses the rationale for investigating venetoclax (Venclexta) as a treatment for patients with multiple myeloma.

According to Kumar, despite the advent of several new therapies in the past couple of years, multiple myeloma largely remains an incurable cancer. These new treatments have helped patients live much longer, he says, but novel therapeutics should turn towards targeting the underlying biology of this disease.

Venetoclax essentially does just that, as it is a drug designed to specifically inhibit the BCL-2 protein in the cancer cells found in patients with multiple myeloma. Oncologists know that the expression of BCL-2 proteins in myeloma cells is significantly high, making venetoclax an excellent targeted agent, explains Kumar.

Preclinical studies assessing venetoclax have already shown that the drug can effectively kill these myeloma cells that express BCL-2 proteins. Moreover, research has revealed specific subgroups of patients who are particularly sensitive to treatment with venetoclax, thus providing a strong rationale to continue investigating this agent in multiple myeloma.



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