Venetoclax information page
Venetoclax is a potent new anti-cancer drug, co-developed and trialled in Australia, and based on a landmark research discovery made at WEHI.

Clinical trials of venetoclax have delivered outstanding results for patients. One study saw remission in patients with an advanced form of leukaemia, for whom conventional treatment options had been exhausted.

In 2016 venetoclax was approved for use in the United States and European Union. In January 2017, the drug (marketed as VENCLEXTA) was approved for use by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and made available to Australian patients.

Decades in the making

Venetoclax is based on a discovery made at WEHI in the late 1980s, that protein called BCL-2 helps cancer cells survive indefinitely. Since then, scientists worldwide have been searching for ways to target BCL-2 as a means to treat cancer.

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What types of cancers can venetoclax treat?

The US, EU and Australia have approved venetoclax for use in some patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Clinical trials using venetoclax to target other forms of blood and breast cancers are currently underway. Preclinical testing also suggests drugs that target BCL-2 could be used to improve treatments for lung and prostate cancers.


Related news

August 2016: Australian protein discovery leads to tablet that “melts away blood cancer” 



Venetoclax trial participants

Professor Andrew Roberts and collaborators have shown that patients with an advanced form of leukaemia can achieve complete remission with a novel tablet treatment.

Professor David Vaux in a laboratory

Professor David Vaux describes BCL-2 and why it's so important in developing new treatments for cancer