Europe Approves Columvi for Relapsed or Refractory DLBCL

Having a rare or uncommon condition can be undoubtedly overwhelming. The diagnosis comes with associated mental health, financial, physical, and social burdens that can weigh heavy on your mind. But it can be even more frightening when the therapies that you try to manage or treat your condition aren’t working. Unfortunately, this occurs for a number of people living with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Some individuals have cancer that does not respond to available treatments. Identifying new and effective treatment methods is essential.

According to reporting from European Pharmaceutical Review, people in Europe now have an option for people whose DLBCL remains refractory to treatment, or who have undergone relapse (i.e. relapsed or refractory DLBCL) after 2+ lines of systemic therapy. This option is called Columvi (glofitamab), a fixed-duration therapy that is designed to be completed in around 8.5 months. Columvi is a CD20xCD3 T-cell-engaging bispecific antibody and the first of its kind to achieve European approval. The therapy works by targeting CD3 (a protein on healthy T-cells) and CD20 (a protein which can be expressed on healthy and cancerous B-cells). As the European Medicines Agency (EMA) explains:

By binding to the CD20 and CD3 proteins, the medicine acts as a bridge to bring together the cancer cells and T cells. This encourages the T cells to destroy the cancer cells and helps control the disease.

The drug, administered intravenously, was approved followign result from a Phase 1/2 clinical study. Within the study, researchers saw 50% overall response (everyone who responded to treatment) with 35.2% of people achieving a complete response (meaning that there were no clinical signs of cancer).

About Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL)

There are many different forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that manifests in the lymphatic system. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is one of these forms; in fact, it is considered the most common NHL subtype. An estimated 18,000 people (or more) are diagnosed with DLBCL each year. DLBCL affects B cells, a form of white blood cell called lymphocytes that produce antibodies and fight infection. This cancer is aggressive and fast-growing. For many people with this cancer, remission and even “curability” are possible. This requires early treatment which may include chemotherapy with rituximab, radiation, bone marrow transplants, or radiation. Some individuals experience relapse or remain refractory (do not respond to treatment), such as those who Columvi was developed for.

DLBCL can happen in people of all ages, but most often occurs in those over 60 years old. Males are also slightly more affected than females. Additional risk factors include being immunocompromised, having a family history of this cancer, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, or having autoimmune diseases such as lupus, celiac disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.

If someone has DLBCL, they may grapple with the following symptoms:

  • Painless but swollen (and/or fast-growing) lymph nodes
  • Losing weight without meaning to
  • Itchy skin
  • Appetite loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fevers and drenching night sweats
  • Bloody stool (if spread to abdomen)
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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