CTI BioPharma Corp’s (NASDAQ: CTIC) VONJO is now recommended to treat myeloproliferative neoplasms in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
According to Dr Adam R. Craig, BioPharma’s CEO and President, the company is excited that the NCCN added VONJO to its oncology guidelines of clinical practice. The treatment is for high-risk people with myelofibrosis that don’t qualify for a transplant.
This treatment allows the company to help patients whose needs are still unmet. Currently, this is the only first-line therapy for patients with the disorder that the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved.
Moreover, VONJO has been classified as Category 2A for both first and second-line treatment of the disease. The second-line designation helps patients who are low and high risk. It also widens their treatment options.
How VONJO works
VONJO acts by inhibiting JAK2, which signals growth factors and cytokines, thus playing a role in immune function and hematopoietic. This is vital as researchers link JAK2 with the uncontrolled signalling of these molecules.
Moreover, VONJO has a higher affinity to JAK2 than TYK2 and JAK1. For this reason, the drug won’t inhibit TYK2 and JAK1 at high concentrations. The company would have to provide more data from clinical trials to show that VONJO could provide more benefits to patients. This move would allow the company to receive further FDA authorisation.
Adverse effects of VONJO
The company has found that VONJO has several side effects. One effect is bleeding. In case of bleeding, the company recommends that physicians conduct particular invasive procedures or give the patient a blood transfusion.
Furthermore, physicians shouldn’t give VONJO to patients who have active bleeding. They should also avoid giving it to patients who are to receive surgeries within a day. They could also evaluate the patient’s platelet count regularly to avoid bleeding.
VONJO also results in diarrhoea in up to 48% of people. The diarrhoea took about two weeks to resolve. Fortunately, it only resulted in severe issues in 3% of test subjects. Another adverse effect was thrombocytopenia which caused a bigger problem for patients with a history of thrombocytopenia. Using the drug on patients with thrombocytopenia was not recommended. This effect was another reason to monitor the patient’s platelet count.