Potential New Immunotherapy for Rapidly Progressing Leukemia


Amgen, a leading biopharmaceutical company, is currently developing a series of oncological treatments which they’re calling bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) immunotherapies. Among them, AMG330 has been showing promising results for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients.

Clinical trials are still undergoing and have specifically encouraged enrollment for cases where prior treatments were ineffective. Most of the 35 participants divided into 12 dose cohorts were seniors, median age being 58 years. The average number of previous treatments was 4, with some patients having undergone up to 15 courses.

The majority of adult AML patients will not be cured with standard chemotherapy, underscoring the need for innovative treatment options for those who have relapsed or are refractory to currently available treatments“, said in the press release Farhad Ravandi, M.D, clinical study investigator.

So far, two patients receiving doses of 240 µg/day achieved a complete response, with two others having the same outcome, but with incomplete blood count recovery.

AML is a cancer that originates in the bone marrow, and caused by early versions of blood cells, called myeloid cells, multiplying out of control and behaving abnormally. Progression is particularly rapid if not treated.

AMG 330 is an immunotherapy, meaning it doesn’t work like regular treatments, directly targeting a tumor, but instead trying to prompt the immune system to attack cells producing a certain protein. AML tumor cells produce CD33 proteins while T cells (part of the immune system) have CD3 on the surface. AMG330 basically binds the two together, triggering an antitumor effect.

These early data are encouraging as they indicate AMG 330 may have anti-leukemic activity in heavily pretreated patients with relapsed or refractory AML, validating the need for continued evaluation of the BiTE platform in targeting CD33”.