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News From the Food and Drug Administration
September 19, 2017

Relief for Graft-vs-Host Disease

JAMA. 2017;318(11):996. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.12982

A drug previously approved for adults with certain types of lymphoma or leukemia has become the first FDA approved medication for chronic graft-vs-host disease (GVHD).

Ibrutinib, marketed as Imbruvica, inhibits Bruton tyrosine kinase, a protein that plays a role in the survival and spread of malignant B cells. The medication is indicated for adults who develop chronic GVHD after a hematopoietic stem cell transplant but don’t respond to systemic therapy. An estimated 30% to 70% of patients who undergo these transplants subsequently develop chronic GVHD.