(CINCINNATI) -- A new experimental drug proven to shrink the size of brain tumors could save patients a trip to the operating room, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Everolimus, an immune-suppressing drug, was tested at a clinical trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. The study of 28 patients found that tumors shrank by at least 30 percent in 21 of the patients and by at least 50 percent in nine patients.
The most marked and fastest shrinkage occurred in the first three months of treatment, but the effects were sustained. Dr. David Neal Franz, senior author of the study and professor of pediatrics and neurology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said 75 percent of patients saw their tumors reduced by at least 30 percent in volume, and all participants had some response to the drug.
Such striking results from the study, funded by the drug manufacturer Novartis, led the FDA Saturday to grant fast-track approval to everolimus, which will be marketed as Afinitor, as an alternative to surgery for patients with tuberous sclerosis, a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow. It's the first-ever approved treatment for the disorder.
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