Drugmaker Roche has notified the public that the FDA has approved Avastin as a treatment for Ovarian cancer.
The new drug is designed to work in conjunction with chemotherapy in recurrent cases where there is resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy. The drug has already been approved for Glioblastoma (GBM), Metastatic Colorectal Cancer (mCRC), Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and Metastatic Kidney Cancer (mRCC).
Avastin is a angiogenesis inhibitor, that slows the growth of new blood vessels. It blocks angiogenesis by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), which is a chemical signal used by cancer to help the disease spread.
The drug was first approved in 2004 by the FDA for metastatic colon cancer. In the past Roche also tried to have the drug approved for breast cancer, but it was shown to be ineffective in trials.
The drug is a big money maker for Roche, having netted them a whopping $6.25 billion in 2013.
The drug carries a number of serious side effects that cancer patients must be aware of.
Some of the more serious ones are:
- GI perforation (a hole that develops in your stomach or intestine)
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Serious bleeding
(This includes vomiting or coughing up blood; bleeding in the stomach, brain, or spinal cord; nosebleeds; and vaginal bleeding)
Other side effects can include severely high blood pressure, kidney problems, infusion reactions, stroke, heart problems, nervous system problems and vision problems.
The drug carries some serious side effects, but is an important part of the cancer treatment regime for many people.