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article imageU.S. authorizes new pancreatic cancer therapy

By Tim Sandle     Oct 30, 2015 in Health
A new treatment for pancreatic cancer has been approved in the U.S. This is a medication called Onivyde, produced by a research institute.
The drug has been approved following a review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval was granted following a clinical trial which showed higher survival rates with the new medication compared with medications that are currently available on the market. Patients receiving the new drug lived for around two months longer. While two months may not seem like a long time, for someone with a terminal illness, the time spent with their families is very precious.
Pancreatic cancer occurs as cells in the pancreas (located behind the stomach) start to multiply out of control and form a mass. The cancer is hard to control and often fatal because cancerous cells can invade other parts of the body, including other organs (metastasis). Symptoms of the disease include yellowing skin, back pain, weight loss, dark urine and a loss of appetite. Only one in four patients survive for one year after being diagnosed with the disease.
The new product, Onivyde, was produced by scientists working at the HonorHealth Research Institute and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). The drug is used in combination with chemotherapy.
Evaluation of the drug took place in the U.S., South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, as part of a randomized trial. In all, one hundred patients took part in the study.
Discussing the clinical outcomes, Gayle Jameson, the principal investigator for the new drug, told Pharmaceutical Processing magazine: “Results from our clinical trial research showed a patient survival rate of nearly two more months without decreasing the quality of life compared to the other treatments tested.”
In related news, U.K. health authorities are recommending that a different drug for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, called Abraxane, is not provided. Although the drug has been clinically proven to extend life, according to the BBC the U.K. health watchdog has declared that this does not justify the cost. Patient groups and cancer charities are challenging this decision.
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