ZURICH – Roche’s breast cancer drug Avastin has been approved by the European Commission, offering a less-invasive alternative treatment for women suffering from newly diagnosed, yet highly advanced ovarian cancer.
Roche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, is the world’s largest cancer drug manufacturer. Prior to the approval, options for advanced ovarian cancer patients were limited strictly to chemotherapy and surgery. The new drug, Avastin, eliminates the need for surgery, but the approval qualifies that the drug be used in conjunction with standard chemotherapy treatments. Chief Medical Officer Hal Barron had this to say regarding Avastin’s approval.
“Today’s approval of Avastin marks the first major treatment advance in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer in 15 years. This is the fifth tumor type for which Avastin has been approved in Europe, making it one of few biologic drugs indicated for multiple cancers.”
Roche performed two late-stage studies of their drug prior to approval. They found that advanced ovarian cancer patients using Avastin alongside traditional chemotherapy were able to better delay the worsening of their condition, contrasted with patients solely receiving rounds of chemotherapy.
However, all that glitters is not gold with this miracle drug. Present in some form in the medical sphere since 2004, Avastin has been linked to devastating side-effects including: potentially fatal clotting, slow or incomplete healing of wounds, bleeding so severe it could cause potential brain damage, and perforations in the gastrointestinal tract (aka – ulcers).
Of the gynecological cancers, ovarian cancer is by far the most deadly, claiming the lives of 140,000 women globally each year. the miracle drug might not be all it’s cracked up to be – time will tell – but those suffering from this type of cancer don’t seem to have the greatest options.
So what do you think? Is this miracle drug too good to be true? Are the potential side-effects too severe to ignore? Let us know down below.