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  • Recent Breakthroughs in Cancer Drugs


    As long as there is the possibility for newer and better drugs to fight cancer, there remains hope. A few of the recent breakthroughs in cancer drugs are listed below:

    Breast cancer that has metastasized in patients who have already been treated with chemotherapy at least twice can be treated with a new drug called eribulin mesylate. The FDA approved use of this drug on November 15, 2010. Trademarked under the name Halaven, it is manufactured by a company called Eisai, Ltd., and has been shown to improve overall survival in patients by 2.5 months on average.

    Eribulin is a laboratory-made form of halichondrin B, which is a substance derived from a sea sponge. It is a targeted therapy drug, meaning it is made to affect a specific type of cell; in this case it targets the protein called tubulin in cells to interfere with cancer cell division and growth.

    Cancer patients with bone metastases from solid tumors are approved to use a drug called denosumab, trademarked under the names Xgeva and Prolia, and is manufactured by Amgen, Inc. Denosumab helps to prevent skeletal-related events and was approved by the FDA on November 18, 2010. These skeletal-related events include pathological fractures, radiation therapy to bone, surgery to bone or spinal cord compression due to cancer.

    Advanced prostate cancer has been shown to have an improved survival rate using the drug cabazitaxel over those receiving standard chemotherapy. The FDA approved this drug on June 17, 2010 and can be considered as an alternative for men where standard chemotherapy has failed. It is registered under the name Jevtana, an injection made by the company Sanofi-Aventis. It is effective in patients previously treated with a drug called docataxel, and can provide alternative options for survival.

    Another type of cancer being fought using new drugs is cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, which is any of a group of T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas; the most common types are mycosis fungoides and Sezary syndrome. The drug called romidepsin registered under the name Istodax (made by Gloucester Pharmaceuticals Inc.) has been approved by the FDA on November 5, 2009 to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma in patients who have received at least one prior systemic therapy.

    A common theme evident in these examples of recent breakthroughs in cancer drugs: no matter what stage of cancer or what previous treatments existed, there remains the hope that a new drug may perhaps be an alternative solution for increased survivability.