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US FDA approves new medication to treat rare type of leukemia

Updated: 2012-08-10 09:42

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday approved Marqibo to treat adults with a rare type of leukemia called Philadelphia chromosome negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Marqibo, marketed by California-based Talon Therapeutics Inc., is approved for patients whose leukemia has returned (relapsed) two or more times, or whose leukemia has progressed following two or more regimens of anti-leukemia therapy.

The medication contains vincristine, a commonly used anti- cancer drug, encased within a liposome, a drug delivery vehicle composed of material similar to that of cell membranes. It is an injection administered once a week by a health care professional.

According to the FDA, the most common side effects of Marqibo observed during clinical studies include constipation, nausea, low blood cell counts, fever, nerve damage, fatigue, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and insomnia.

ALL is a rapidly progressing form of blood and bone marrow cancer that is more commonly diagnosed in children than adults. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, an estimated 6, 050 men and women will be diagnosed with ALL and 1,440 will die from the disease this year.