Health

Pfizer gets FDA nod for leukemia drug

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!


NEW JERSEY, United States (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medicine for use against a rare, rapidly progressing blood cancer, after other treatments have failed.

The agency approved Pfizer Inc's Besponsa for patients with a type of advanced acute lymphoblastic leukemia. By then, life expectancy is low.

“These patients have few treatments available and today's approval provides a new, targeted treatment option,” Dr Richard Pazdur, FDA's director for cancer drugs, said in a statement.

This year an estimated 5,970 Americans will be diagnosed and 1,440 will die from the cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The drug will cost US$168,300 without insurance for the typical, nine-week treatment course.

In testing that included 218 patients, 36 per cent given Besponsa had their cancer vanish for eight months on average; 17 per cent of those given chemotherapy had complete remission for a median five months.

Besponsa is believed to work by blocking the growth of cancerous cells by binding to their surface.

The powerful injected drug, known chemically as inotuzumab ozogamicin, comes with the FDA's most stringent warning because it can cause severe liver disease, including blocking veins in the liver. It also carries an increased risk of death in patients who have received a certain type of stem cell transplant.

Besponsa also can cause a decrease in blood cell and platelet production, infusion-related reactions, and problems with the heart's electrical pulses. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Besponsa because it may harm a developing foetus or a newborn baby, the FDA warned.

More common side effects include fatigue, severe bleeding, fever, nausea and headaches.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT