AbbVie and Genentech's new suite of resources shows patients how to live with chronic blood cancer

Chronic cancers can get overlooked when doctors focus on treatment and symptoms. And when it comes to finding resources on how to live with rare cancers, information can be scarce.

AbbVie and Roche’s Genentech are looking to change that for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) through a new resource-driven awareness campaign.

Seventy percent of patients with the disease live longer than 10 years, increasing the need for health, financial and general information resources.

“Living with CLL” includes search, display and social media advertising, along with advocacy group efforts, to drive patients to its website hub. Resources for patients include lifestyle, health and wellness, support and financial information, along with realistic therapy goals and treatment approaches.

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AbbVie undertook the initiative after considering the emotional toll and unique challenges in the way the disease affects patients. CLL is a slow-growing form of leukemia that usually isn’t treated until symptoms occur, which can take years after diagnosis to begin. It’s also an older person’s disease, with 70 as the average age of diagnosis.

“It can feel daunting for patients and caregivers after a recent or recurring diagnosis,” an AbbVie spokesperson said in an email, noting the goal of the campaign is to “educate and empower” them as they navigate the challenging condition.

Roche and AbbVie are partners on oral CLL treatment Venclexta, with Genentech handling U.S. commercial and AbbVie marketing outside the U.S. The med competes with Johnson & Johnson and AbbVie’s Imbruvica, which is the standard of care for CLL and taken indefinitely.

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AbbVie and Roche, though, are working to show Venclexta—in combination with Imbruvica—is effective for patients taking a fixed course of treatment. The drugmakers reported data at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in December that showed 95% of patients in a phase 2 study were disease-free and alive one year after treatment.