FDA green lights Beleodaq to treat rare, aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Beleodaq, a drug used to treat patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma, or PTCL. The approval was announced on July 3, 2014, with action taken under the administration’s accelerated approval program.

PTCL is a form of rare but quick-growing type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that consists of a varied group of rare diseases where lymph nodes become cancerous.

Beleodaq helps to stop enzymes that contribute to T-cells to prevent them from becoming cancerous. The medication is suggested for use on patients whose disease relapsed or failed to respond to prior treatments.

Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement, “This is the third drug that has been approved since 2009 for the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma.” He continued, “Today’s approval expands the number of treatment options available to patients with serious and life-threatening diseases.”

According to the same source, the National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly 70,800 Americans will be diagnosed with NHL, and 18,900 will die from the disease. PTCL comprises approximately 10 to 15 percent of NHLs in North America.

According to the National Cancer Institute, non-Hodgkin lymphomas occur at all ages and are frequently marked by larger than normal lymph nodes, fever, and weight loss.

Image: Wellcome Trust Photographer Ben Gilbert, Wellcome Images