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Studies of an experimental medication developed by Pharmacyclics (UNKNOWN: PCYC.DL ) have indicated that it slows the progression of a type of leukemia, the company said in an official statement. According to Pharmacyclics, the drug, ibrutinib, "resulted in durable responses for patients over 65 years of age" with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
The company added that ibrutinib helped control the cancers of 68% of the patients in the study who had not previously been treated for CLL.
Ibrutinib is a member of a new class of drugs for CLL, which afflicts roughly 16,000 people a year in the United States. The disease tends to afflict the elderly. The aim of the drug is for it to obviate the need for chemotherapy, which can be overly toxic for older patients.