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Is Ninlaro (ixazomib) a chemotherapy drug? How does it work?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm Last updated on Apr 13, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Drugs that are used to treat cancer are called anticancer drugs.

Anticancer drugs can be divided to different groups:

  • targeted therapy
  • chemotherapy (chemo)
  • hormonal drug therapy
  • immunotherapy

Ninlaro is a targeted therapy anticancer drug used to treat multiple myeloma.

Ninlaro is used with the medicines lenalidomide and dexamethasone.

What is Ninlaro (ixazomib)?

Ninlaro is a targeted therapy anticancer drug that reversibly inhibits proteasome (proteasome inhibitors).

Ninlaro binds and temporarily blocks the beta 5 subunits of the 20S proteasome inside the cells

How does Ninlaro (ixazomib) work for multiple myeloma?

  • In a normal cell there are enzyme complexes (called proteasomes) that act like a recycling centre breaking down any unwanted or damaged proteins into smaller parts, so the damaged or unwanted proteins don’t build up inside the cell. 
  • The Ninlaro blocks or inhibits the enzyme complexes (proteasomes) from working, which means that there is a build up of the damaged proteins and unwanted proteins inside the cell. 
  • The myeloma cancer cells are very sensitive to having too much extra or damaged protein inside them and when that happens it causes myeloma cancer cell to die.
  • Ninlaro is an oral medicine, which is taken by mouth in the form of capsules, so it is easier to take compared to intravenous (IV) medications. 

Is Ninlaro (ixazomib) an approved medicine by the FDA?

  • Yes, Ninlaro has been approved by the FDA for multiple myeloma in patients who have already tried one previous therapy.
  • Ninlaro is to be used in combination with lenalidomide (Revlimid) and dexamethasone

Bottom line

  • Ninlaro is an anticancer medicine used to treat multiple myeloma in patients who have already tried one previous therapy.
  • Ninlaro’s effect is that it  blocks or inhibits the enzyme complexes called proteasomes, which causes extra proteins and damaged proteins to build up inside the myeloma cancer cells, and this causes the cancer cells to die.
  • Ninlaro is used as combination therapy with lenalidomide and dexamethasone.
References
  • https://www.drugs.com/ninlaro.html
  • https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/chemotherapy/how-chemotherapy-drugs-work.htm
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4133498/
  • http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/ixazomib.aspx

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