Acalabrutinib is a novel oral anti-cancer drug in clinical development for people with relapsed or refractory (R/R) chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) who have previously been treated (second line or greater). CLL is a type of cancer in which too many white blood cells are produced. As these cells develop abnormally, they are unable to function and fight infection and stop the production of healthy blood cells. The disease is chronic and develops slowly. R/R CLL means the cancer has come back after treatment and reaching remission, or the cancer has failed to respond to treatment. Treatment options for R/R CLL include targeted therapy drugs, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.
Acalabrutinib works by blocking a specific enzyme referred to as Bruton’s Tryrosine Kinase, to slow the build-up of cancerous cells in CLL, thereby delaying or stopping the progression of the disease. The Bruton’s Tryrosine Kinase enzyme has been identified as an important therapeutic target for the treatment of CLL. Acalabrutinib is thought to be a more selective and irreversible blocker of this enzyme and is specifically designed to improve on the safety and efficacy of first generation inhibitors. Acalabrutinib has demonstrated encouraging results in clinical trials and may offer an effective treatment option for R/R CLL patients who have received other previous treatment.
Nivolumab works by improving the activity of white blood cells thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. Cabozantinib works to stop signals that cancer cells use to divide and grow. It is thought that when used in combination, both drugs may be more effective than each drug on its own. If licenced, nivolumab in combination with cabozantinib may improve long-term outcomes in mRCC patients who currently have limited treatment options.