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What is Empliciti (elotuzumab)? and how does Empliciti work?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 12, 2020.

What type of drug is Empliciti?

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

What is Empliciti?


Empliciti (elotuzumab) is an anticancer drug given as an infusion, that is used to treat multiple myeloma in a combination medication treatment program.
Currently Empliciti can be used with a specific combination of medicines for two selected patient groups:

  • Revlimid (lenalidomide) and dexamethasone with Empliciti, this is for adult patients who have already had one to three treatments for multiple myeloma
  • Pomalyst (pomalidomide) and dexamethasone with Empliciti, this is for adult patients who have already had at least two treatments of Revlimid and a proteasome inhibitor (eg Velcade (bortezomib), Ninlaro (ixazomib), Kyprolis (carfilzomib)).

How does Empliciti work?

We have cells in our immune system called Natural Killer (NK) cells whose job it is to kill infected cells, any stressed cells that aren't functioning properly or cancer cells.
A simple way to think of how Empliciti works, is that Empliciti:

  • increases the activity Natural Killer cells against the myeloma cancer cells and
  • it labels the myeloma cancer cells so that it is easier for the Natural killer cells to find them

This results in more multiple myeloma cancer cells being destroyed by the Natural Killer cells.

What type of drug is Empliciti?

Empliciti is a monoclonal antibody type of anticancer drug.

An antibody is part of the immune system that attaches to a protein (or antigen) like a key fits a lock. Once the antibody is attached to the antigen it is like there is a sign on it, labeling the protein as something that needs to be destroyed by the immune system.

Some cancer cells have antigens on the outside of the cell and monoclonal antibodies can be designed to target these antigens.

  • Empliciti is a monoclonal antibody designed to bind to protein on the outside of the myeloma cancer cell called SLAMF7 (signaling lymphocyte activation molecule family member 7).
  • Once Empliciti is attached to SLAMF7 it makes the myeloma cancer cells easier for the Natural Killer cells to find, and also increases the activity of Natural Killer cells against the myeloma cancer cells .


Bottom Line:

  • Empliciti (elotuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody type anticancer drug used to treat specific multiple myeloma patients.
  • Empliciti is used in combination with dexamethasone and Revlimid (lenalidomide) or Pomalyst (pomalidomide).
  • Empliciti is given as an infusion
  • Emplicitis binds SLAMF7 protein which makes the myeloma cancer cells easier for the Natural killer cells to find, and also increases the activity of Natural Killer cells against the myeloma cancer cells .
References

Empliciti Medication information: https://www.drugs.com/pro/empliciti.html

Elotuzumab Therapy for Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1505654

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