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Friday
May062011

FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the approval of a drug that helps in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, providing some encouraging news for patients with the disease.

On Friday the FDA said that it has approved the drug Afinitor (everolimus) for treatment to patients with progressive neuroendocrine tumors located in the pancreas, that cannot be removed by surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.

“Patients with this cancer have few effective treatment options,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Oncology Drug Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Afinitor has demonstrated the ability to slow the growth and spread of neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas.”

In a news release, the FDA says the drug was deemed safe for use after a clinical trial involving 410 patients who either had progressive neuroendocrine tumors spread to other parts of the body or had a disease that could not be removed with surgery. During the trial some patients reportedly received Afinitor and others received placebo (sugar pill).

The FDA says after being treated with Afinitor, the median length of time patients lived without the cancer spreading or worsening was 11 months, as compared to a period of 4.6 months for patients that received placebo.

Afinitor has also been approved to treat patients with kidney cancer and patients with a type of brain cancer called subependymal giant cell astrocytoma.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio