FDA approves lung cancer drug for second time

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Iressa as a first-line treatment for patients suffering with a type of metastatic lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) this week.

NSCLC is the most common cause of lung cancer according to the National Cancer Institute.

The drug Iressa is used to block proteins that help cancerous cells grow. Specifically, they target epidermal growth factor receptor mutations.

“This approval provides further support for a highly targeted approach to treating cancer,” said Richard Pazdur, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

To prove the efficacy and safety of Iressa, the research team used a clinical trial of 106 patients. The participants had not been treated previously and had NSCLC and the mutation present. Researchers wanted to know what percentage of patients would see the tumors shrink or disappear completely after using the drug.

The participants were given the drug once a day. Results showed that tumors shrank in about 50 percent of patients after treatment and lasted an average of six months.

Iressa was originally approved by the FDA in 2003 for the treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC, but it was voluntarily withdrawn from the market after subsequent trials failed to confirm the clinical benefit.

Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.

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