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Cancer treatment developed by Greek researchers gets EMA green light

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The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Thursday approved a new treatment combination for bone marrow cancer that was developed by a team of Greek researchers in a study codenamed Apollo.

Headed by Athens University hematologists Meletios A. (Thanos) Dimopoulos, also the rector of the university, and Evangelos Terpos, Apollo confirmed the positive response from patients with multiple myeloma to the addition of daratumumab, pomalidomide and dexamethasone, known collectively as DaraPomDex, to their treatment.

The phase 3 trial was carried out at 48 academic centers and hospitals in 12 European countries and the findings were published in “The Lancet: Oncology” on June 1.

The study concerned patients who had received at least one previous line of therapy, including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor, had a partial response or better to one or more previous lines of antimyeloma therapy, and were refractory to lenalidomide if only one previous line of therapy was received. 

It found that DaraPomDex “reduced the risk of disease progression or death versus pomalidomide and dexamethasone alone and could be considered a new treatment option.”

“For patients with multiple myeloma who relapse, it is important that efficacious treatments significantly reduce the risk of progression,” Dr Dimopoulos told the American Society of Hematology (ASH) on December 6, accroding to the Irish Medical Times. He described DaraPomDex as “a compelling treatment option for early relapsed or lenalidomide refractory patients.”

The other Greek hematologists involved in Apollo were Sosan Delimpasi from Athens’ Evangelismos Hospital, Eirini Katorditou from the Theageneio Cancer Hospital in Thessaloniki and Patras University Professor Argiris Symeonidis.