‘Darzalex as another weapon against multiple myeloma’

Park Gi-taek  Published 2019.04.19  15:39  Updated 2019.04.19 15:39


Janssen Korea’s Darzalex (ingredient: daratumumab) is effective for heavily pretreated cancer patients with multiple myeloma, and its direct attack on cancer cells and immunotherapeutic efficacy are drawing keen attention, a local physician said. Multiple myeloma is cancer formed in a plasma cell in the blood.

Professor Min Chang-ki of Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital speaks at a news conference by Janssen Korea to celebrate Darzalex’s winning insurance benefit on Thursday.

Min Chang-ki, a professor of hematology at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, shared his view on Darzlex, at a news conference by Janssen Korea to celebrate the drug’s winning insurance benefit on Thursday.

Darzalex is a human monoclonal antibody that directly binds to CD-28, a glycoprotein over-expressed on the surface of multiple myeloma cells. The insurance benefit for the treatment began to be available as of April 8.

“It is difficult to cure multiple myeloma. Repeated recurrences occur even after early treatment. Fortunately, in the 2000s, patients’ survival rate has dramatically gone up. However, it was not easy to introduce it under the domestic health insurance system because of its high price,” Min said.

To be able to use Darzalex in patients whose cancer recurred more than three times even after Velcade and Revlimid therapies is like having “a third weapon” against multiple myeloma for physicians and patients, he added.

Min said it was challenging to treat a patient whose multiple myeloma recurred for the fourth time, emphasizing Darzalex’ efficacy to boost immunity.

“During therapies, only cancer cells with various resistances remain in the body. Patients’ conditions become poor after going through first, second, and third anticancer treatments. This is why only 15 percent get the fourth treatment,” Min said.

Darzalex could prolong the survival time of such patients by six months on average, and some patients could live longer than a year, he added.

Min went on to say that the treatment was also positive in drug compliance.

“Darzalex has the fewest side effects among conventional anticancer drugs for multiple myeloma. When injected, patients feel comfortable, and there was rarely discontinuation of the medication caused by toxicity,” Min said. “Allergy responses might occur on the first or the second day of treatment, but the treatment can continue with preparations and response measures.”

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