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Report of 2011 FDA Approved Drugs Notes Several Useful in the Treatment of Mesothelioma

The Oncology Report has just published its second annual guide to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of new cancer drugs, indications, and devices.  “The Oncology Report Guide to Cancer Drugs and Devices in 2011” includes a listing of over 10 drugs and devices used in the treatment of a variety of cancers, including rare cancers such as medullary thyroid cancer and mesothelioma.  

Rare and orphan diseases affect approximately one in 10 Americans, however, many of the diseases are incurable and do not have an effective treatment.  In fact, according to government statistics, between 85 and 90 percent of orphan diseases are serious or life-threatening, yet only about 200 of them currently have any effective treatments. The Oncology Report notes that vandetanib was the first drug approved for treatment of medullary thyroid cancer – designated as an orphan disease, along with 7,000 others, including mesothelioma. 

Crizotinib, which was identified in the report, was approved in late August for the treatment of late-stage, non-small cell lung cancers that are also abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive. Crizotinib was also included as a breakthrough in Top Mesothelioma Stories of 2011. 

Mesothelioma is a specific and unique form of cancer, typically affecting the lining of the lungs, caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.  Crizotinib is one drug that relies on the science of genetics, and focuses on a specific biomarker (ALK) being present before determining treatment.  This type of drug moves physicians towards personalized care that allows them to target a patient’s unique mesothelioma characteristics for optimal treatment. 

The report included 10 warnings issued by the EPA.  A warning was added to prescribing information for dasatinib identifying the increased risk for pulmonary arterial hypertension.  MD Anderson Cancer Center has been testing dasatinb in a clinical trial to learn how the drug affects biomarker levels in patients with resectable malignant pleural mesothelioma. Information on the clinical trial can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov

The Oncology Report is a news source for oncologists, nurses, pharmacists and administrators featuring the “latest advances in cancer treatment presented at major oncology meetings with expert commentaries and analysis from renowned thought-leaders.”

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Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 4 years. Follow Nancy on Google+

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