A new cancer drug could help reduce the risk of lung cancer
By Laura BrownsteinIt is an encouraging sign that a drug to reduce the risks of lung cancers has been developed and approved by the FDA.
In November, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Avastin, a new anti-cancer drug developed by the University of Florida.
It has already been approved in Australia and Canada.
The drug’s main advantage over existing treatments is that it does not cause side effects that can lead to serious side effects.
Avastina is one of the first to be approved for human use, meaning it is available to anyone who has a chronic lung disease and has insurance.
Its makers hope the drug will be able to slow the spread of lung diseases such as COPD and emphysema.
Its main drawback is that its effectiveness will be limited to those with the most advanced lung diseases, which could include people with advanced cancer such as melanoma.
But the drug’s potential benefits are already being noticed, and the US has reported a 40 per cent drop in lung cancer deaths since the drug was introduced in the US.
“The drug is a significant advance in the battle against lung cancer and its effects are already showing positive results,” said Dr James D. Kavanagh, head of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University Hospital in Birmingham.
“I believe this drug is poised to be a game changer in the fight against lung cancers.”
Dr Kavanah is part of a team led by Dr Daniel W. Burdick of the University Medical Center in Philadelphia.
“Avastin has been designed to mimic the anti-tumor effects of the antiallergy drugs atypical for lung cancers and has been shown to be efficacious against all lung cancers in clinical trials,” Dr Burdack said.
“However, the drug is only effective in people with a history of severe COPD, which is a very small subset of the general population.”
He said the drug could also be used to treat patients with advanced lung disease, such as those with advanced colorectal cancer or those who are in the early stages of lung disease.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are currently reviewing Avastine, which was approved by US authorities last year.
The US government is funding research on the drug, and Dr Kavanag said the FDA had been involved in developing a regulatory framework.
“We have been involved with the development of regulatory guidance for Avastinate,” he said.
Dr Kavanc said Avastinian’s first phase 2 trial is due to be completed in December.
Dr Burdacks team is working with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and other partners to evaluate its safety.
“It is important to note that the first phase is not intended to be representative of the population of patients treated in the current trial,” Dr Kavascan said.
He said that in the first year of the trial, there are no major side effects and the drug has been able to help reduce lung cancer risks by about 30 per cent.
“There are some adverse effects, which are associated with other medications,” he explained.
“For example, the number of side effects is very low, but they are relatively mild.”
The US is a leader in the world when it comes to lung cancer.
The National Lung Cancer Foundation is supporting the development and launch of Avastination in the USA.