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Ibrutinib + Venetoclax Shows Promising Results in Clinical Trials

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Published on March 25, 2020

Key Takeaways

“If I could do the trial and help other people in the future get better medicine that would help us, I was willing to do that,” says chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patient advocate Pat Clune.

Pat has been MRD-negative for more than a year after being treated with a combination of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and venetoclax (Venclexta) during a clinical trial at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Watch now as Pat and his wife, Cathy, discuss their experience and explain why other patients should consider clinical trials too.  

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Transcript | Ibrutinib + Venetoclax Shows Promising Results in Clinical Trials

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:
Hello. Andrew Schorr here with another CLL patient. That's Pat Clune from Belton, Texas.

Pat Clune:
Correct.

Andrew Schorr:
Right outside Austin. And his wife, Cathy. What's going on now is combining medicines in CLL. So you know about ibrutinib, Imbruvica, you know about venetoclax or Venclexta. Well, could you get a bigger bang if you use those together? You're in the trial trying to find out.

Pat Clune:
Yes, absolutely.

Andrew Schorr:
Imbruvica and venetoclax, and you did that for two years.

Pat Clune:
Correct. We started with ibrutinib for four months, and then we added to it to the venetoclax.

Andrew Schorr:
Okay. How's it worked out?

Pat Clune:
Fantastic.

Andrew Schorr:
What's happened?

Pat Clune:
Well, I am now MRD-negative. They can't find any…

Andrew Schorr:
minimal residual disease (MRD) negative.

Pat Clune:
And that's in 1 in 10,000, and they hope to do it to 1 in 100,000 soon. But as far as I'm concerned, everything is over with, and we're just in remission, and we'll see if it goes to a cure.

Andrew Schorr:
Wow. I hope so. But the point is you took these two powerful medicines, got what seems like a synergistic bang from it.

Pat Clune:
Yes.

Andrew Schorr:
Can't find it with sensitive testing.

Pat Clune:
Correct.

Andrew Schorr:
And you're not taking anything?

Pat Clune:
Nothing, nothing. We're done with it and we're monitoring it every six months. Do the blood work and anything that pops up, we'll find out about it. But for right now, it's a year-free in last December, so a month ago.

Andrew Schorr:
So, Cathy, you're his rock.

Pat Clune:
Yes.

Andrew Schorr:
Happy he's been in a clinical trial?

Cathy Clune:

Oh yes, yes. We were thrilled to get into the trial, and the outcome, of course, has been great.

Andrew Schorr:
What would you say to family members? When the patient has all these papers, lots of black boxes and boldface, and sign here and do this, it's scary.

Cathy Clune:
Oh, it's very scary. There were times at the beginning of the trial that I felt like I didn't have enough support from the medical team, I guess, because I needed to know more, more detail, what to watch for. But we got through that part, and it was fine, and then things got better. And really, it's worked out great. I'd recommend it to anybody.

Pat Clune:
Oh, yeah.

Andrew Schorr:
What would you say? Tell those people right there about what they should think about, considering clinical trials and asking about it.

Pat Clune:
Absolutely. Beyond a shadow of a doubt. I went into it with, I did not want to do IV chemicals like most people do. I was looking for an alternative. My hope was that it was going to help me, but I also—and I don't want to sound like some altruistic saint—if I could do the trial and help other people in the future get better medicine that would help this, I was willing to do that. So it worked out great.

Andrew Schorr:
And you did, and you have, and it's worked out on all counts.

Pat Clune:
Fantastic. I would highly recommend people seriously look at it. It's not like a lab rat. It's a terribly caring team down there. We worked at MD Anderson, just fantastic place, and I sound like a born-again or something. But it is a fantastic place to go, because they specialize in this. And not to say anything about the community oncologists, but these guys are on top of it. They're five years ahead of what your local guy's going to know.

Andrew Schorr:
Right. And in fairness, there are other top centers as well.

Pat Clune:
Oh, absolutely.

Andrew Schorr:
That's what you want to do is, you want to make sure that you get to a knowledgeable team, and do they have research that could give you tomorrow's medicine today? That seems to be happening here. MRD-negative, and that's where you want to be.

Pat Clune:
Yes, absolutely.

Andrew Schorr:
Pat, all the best to you.

Pat Clune:
Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew Schorr:
I hope it is a cure or at least a long pause in treatment. Cathy, thanks for being his support.

Cathy Clune:
Oh, and thank you.

Pat Clune:
Yes. We've learned so much from Patient Power.

Andrew Schorr:
Well, we'll keep at it, but now you're part of it. Andrew, Pat and Cathy, here in Austin. Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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