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What is Ixazomib?

Ixazomib (also known as MLN9708) is a type of cancer drug called a proteasome inhibitor. Proteasomes are enzymes found in cells that help the cell break down old or unwanted proteins. These proteins are split into amino acids which can then be recycled to make new proteins. Cancer cells depend on the proteasome to provide this protein metabolism (turnover) function to regulate their growth and survival. Ixazomib disrupts a cancer cells’ ability to survive by blocking the proteasome and disrupting protein metabolism. Myeloma cells may be uniquely sensitive to proteasome inhibitors because they make large amounts of protein (called M-protein) and need this recycling function to survive.

Ixazomib is in the same class of drugs as Velcade® (bortezomib) and is made by the same company, Takeda Oncology. Ixazomib is considered to be a second-generation proteasome inhibitor because it has improved characteristics and activity over Velcade. In addition, ixazomib is available as a pill whereas Velcade is only available as an injection (subcutaneous or intravenous).

The Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium is currently facilitating a clinical trial for newly diagnosed patients with ixazomib in combination with Revlimid and dex.