Thursday, June 22, 2006

Colon Cancer Drug Receives Approval

Colon Cancer Drug Receives Approval
By Reporter Staff

One of the drugs manufactured at Genentech's Vacaville facility has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for yet another use, the South San Francisco-based biotech company announced this week.
The go-ahead has been given to use blockbuster drug Avastin in combination with a specific type of chemotherapy as second-line treatment for metastatic colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and the third most frequently diagnosed cancer. The combination has already been

FDA-approved as a first-line treatment for that type of cancer.

"Avastin is the only biologic therapy with a demonstrated survival benefit in colorectal cancer, and this new indication offers patients who have received a previous treatment regimen a new option to help fight their disease," said Hal Barron, Genentech's senior vice president of development and chief medical officer, in a written statement.

The new approval is based on results of a study that showed patients receiving Avastin in conjunction with a chemotherapy regimen called FOLFOX4 had a 25 percent reduction in their risk of death equating to a 33 percent improvement in overall survival as compared to patients receiving the chemotherapy alone.

"We are encouraged by new treatments and options that are leading to increased survival for patients," said Amy E. Kelly, co-founder and executive director of the Colon Cancer Alliance, in a press release. "We believe Avastin is an important advance that offers hope for prolonging survival for patients, including those who have already been through first-line treatment."

Barron voiced similar sentiment.

"Avastin used in combination with chemotherapy has become an important component of care for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer," he said, and noted Genentech's continuing research on Avastin and how it may effect other cancers including kidney, breast, pancreatic, non-small cell lung, prostate and ovarian.

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