Blood Cancer Drug, Ibrutinib, Being Tested for Treatment of COVID-19


Dana-Farber to test blood cancer drug in COVID-19 patients

News Release/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are participating as lead investigators in a clinical test of a blood cancer drug in patients infected with the COVID-19 virus. The test follows several case reports indicating that the drug, ibrutinib, may protect against lung damage and respiratory distress caused by the virus.

The goal of the randomized trial is to determine if treatment with ibrutinib, compared with standard supportive care, can reduce patients’ need for supplemental oxygen – including mechanical ventilation – shorten hospital stays, and improve survival.

“This could be an important development if you consider that most admissions to hospitals for COVID-19 are because of breathing problems, and many of these patients require mechanical ventilation,” said Steven Treon, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the trial, and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Bing Center for Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (WM) at Dana-Farber.

Ibrutinib is an oral drug used to treat several B-cell malignancies and chronic graft-versus-host disease. Treon and colleagues recently published in Blood a report on six Waldenström’s patients who had been taking ibrutinib for several years and who had recently contracted COVID-19. All the patients experienced cough and fever. Five of the patients, who were taking ….read more:


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