What Are the Common Effects of Ibrutinib?

Ibrutinib, marketed under the generic name Imbruvica, is a very small molecule biotechnology drug that binds strongly to a ribosome protein, also known as Bruton’s tyrosinase. It’s used to treat various B cell cancers such as acute lymphocytic leukemia, cancer of the lymphatic vessels (lymphoma), chronic lymphocytic leukemia and diffuse large cell arteritis.

In addition, it has also been shown to help in the prevention and treatment of leukaemia and skin diseases. The drug can be administered by intravenous, oral or vaginal means and has no significant effects.

Ibrutinib is actually an IKAG1 inhibitor that works by preventing the action of IKAG1, which is a DNA binding protein found in most lymphomas, lymphoid tissue and plasma cells and is crucial in the process of DNA binding and immobilization. Infection causing organisms (such as bacteria) use IKAG1 as a strategy to invade and multiply within a person’s body, leading to the development of opportunistic infections.

Abnormal cells called T-cells respond to IKAG1 signals and attack healthy, uninfected cells, leading to the activation of the immune system, the production of a potent defence mechanism called cytokines, and subsequently the recruitment of white blood cells (leukocytes) and the killing of infected organisms.

Ibrutinib is a biotechnology drug that has recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL). It has been shown to effectively kill the disease cells in a controlled manner, without harming the patient’s red blood cells (RBCs).

The drug has been shown to produce a sustained remission in more than half of patients, even when treatment is withdrawn for up to six months after the initial treatment period.

This extended remission period is thought to be due to the role of the IKAG1 enzyme in mediating the effect of the disease-fighting cells. It also produces a high level of tumor necrosis (tissue death) in a majority of patients, with further destruction of abnormal cells following this.

Infection-causing agents like Mycoplasma Genitalium (M. Genitalium) and Streptococcus pneumoniae are thought to be the cause of NHL. M. Genitalium, in particular, is thought to cause autoantibodies (antigens) directed against the mantle-cell lymphomas.

Thus, the goal of Ibrutinib is to prevent the further growth and proliferation of the autoimmune cells, thus preventing the occurrence of further NHL. Ibrutinib is also effective in reducing the overabundance of M. Genitalium in patients with extensive lymphatic leukoplakia of the lymph nodes. Ibrutinib is thus proving very effective in the treatment of lymphomas with an autoantibody induced immunity.

Patients with lymphomas that have not responded adequately to standard medical treatments may be able to respond to Ibrutinib. This is especially so if the tumor cells that are resistant to conventional therapies (such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc.) have already accumulated at a highly advanced stage.

In such cases, it is often observed that the tumor cells may not be responding to conventional therapies alone. In such a situation, the combination of Ibrutinib such as AZD 3759 and a single or multiple other antiviral drugs may prove to be extremely helpful for the patient.