Velcade (also known as bortezomib) belongs to a class of drugs called proteasome inhibitors.
Since its introduction, Velcade has had a significant positive impact on the treatment of AL amyloidosis. Its multiple mechanisms of action have proven to be highly effective in targeting abnormal plasma cells causing a rapid reduction in free light chain levels.
Velcade works by temporarily blocking the actions of proteasomes. Proteasomes are involved in the removal, breakdown and recycling of damaged proteins or those that are no longer needed by the cell. As a consequence of blocking the actions of proteasomes, these proteins build up and become toxic, confusing the cell, and cause it to die.
Velcade can be given intravenously (into the vein) or as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection.
The dose of Velcade, how long your treatment lasts and how frequently it is given will vary from patient to patient
depending on the nature and stage of your AL amyloidosis, any side-effects you have, and how well your AL amyloidosis is responding to treatment.
Treatment for AL amyloidosis is often more effective when two or more drugs with different but synergistic and complementary mechanisms of action are given together.
Velcade is usually given with the steroid dexamethasone. Other treatments, such as the chemotherapy drugs cyclophosphamide or melphalan, may also be given as part of the treatment combination.
As with all drugs, Velcade has a number of possible side-effects. And these are detailed in the info guide.
Velcade is licensed for use as an initial treatment for AL amyloidosis – both as a less intensive initial treatment
option and as an induction treatment prior to high-dose therapy and stem cell transplantation.