Blincyto is bispecific immunotherapy used to treat B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer. Blinatumomab is the active substance present in the Blincyto.
In B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia, certain cells involved in B-cell proliferation are reproduced very fast and replace all normal blood cells. B-cell and T-cells are two different types of white blood cells. Blincyto containing blinatumomab attached with CD19 protein present in B cells, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells. Blinatumomab is also attached with CD3 protein present in T cells. Thus, Blincyto makes a bridge between T cells and B cells and stimulates T cells to release substances to destroy cancerous B cells.
Doctors who have experience in blood cancer treatment can prescribe Blincyto and start the therapy. Patients can buy Blincyto only when they have a prescription for this. The intravenous route is used to administer this medicine. Doctors have given this medicine through infusion by using a pump device.
The dose of the Blincyto to treat MRD in ALL depends upon the patient’s body weight. The medicine is infused continuously during the 4-week treatment cycle. A 2-week treatment break is given between two consecutive treatment cycles. The doctor may prefer to use up to 3 additional cycles even after patients have no sign of cancer after completing 2 regular cycles. However, the doctor decides the additional cycle is a completely individual patient reaction towards the therapy. The doctor mainly checks the benefit ratio over the possibility of the patient’s risk in case of additional cycles.
Before starting the Blincyto therapy, a doctor prescribes some medicine to prevent fever and allergic reaction during infusion. Chemotherapy is also injected into the spine area of the patients to prevent leukemia in the nervous system. If necessary, the doctor can stop or interrupt Blincyto therapy depending upon the occurrence of the side effect of the treatment.
The doctor prescribes Blincyto in case of relapsing cancer or other treatments unable to improve the patient’s condition. Blincyto is also prescribed for treating adults who minimal residual disease in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Minimal residual disease (MRD) indicates that even after treatment when a residual cancer cell is detectable in the patient body. Blincyto is the only medicine available for treating MRD in ALL.
Patients with Philadelphia-chromosome-negative (Ph-negative) can also use Blincyto therapy. Ph-negative patient means the absence of the Philadelphia chromosome (an abnormal chromosome) with the presence of CD19 protein on their cancer cells.
Patients with Philadelphia-chromosome-positive’ (Ph-positive) can also be treated with Blincyto in case of patients do not give treatment responses against tyrosine kinase inhibitors or other alternative treatment options.
One in ten patients who are under Blincyto therapy has experienced infection, fever, headache, anemia (low level of red blood cells), low level of white blood cells (leucopenia), low level of platelet count (thrombocytopenia), febrile neutropenia, body fluid retention (edema), infusion-related reactions like fever, blood pressure fluctuation and rash. Other side effects include back pain, low blood pressure, altered liver function, tremor, chills, low level of antibodies (immunoglobulin), vomiting, shortness of breathing, pain in arms, legs, insomnia, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, etc.
Some patients also experience neurological problems like shaking, dizziness, numbness, etc. cytokine release syndrome, and tumor lysis syndrome are two life-threatening complications are also associated with Blincyto therapy. Nursing women should not take Blincyto therapy. The complete list of side effects is mentioned in the package insert.