Drug Abraxane Approved For Treatment Of Pancreatic Cancer
Existing Lung Cancer Treatment Now Approved for Late-Stage Pancreatic Cancer
On Friday, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug Abraxane (paclitaxel) for the treatment of late-stage pancreatic cancer. Abraxane has been approved for use in the United States since January of 2005 for the treatment of lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers.
However, the latest FDA approval now allows the drug to be used in the treatment of late-stage pancreatic cancer. Abraxane is a mitotic inhibitor or in layman's terms, it suppresses the ability of cells to split and divide into new cells. Given that cancer cells spread or metastasize at much faster rates than normal cells, Abraxane can stunt or halt the advance of the cancer.
“Patients with pancreatic cancer are often diagnosed after the cancer has advanced and cannot be surgically removed,” Dr. Richard Pazdur, director of cancer drugs for the F.D.A., said in a statement on Friday. “In these situations, and in situations where the cancer has progressed following surgery, options like Abraxane can help prolong a patient’s life.”
In the United States, the FDA expects that 45,220 people to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer of which 85% or 38,460 are expected to die. This makes the approval of Abraxane all the more important towards increasing the life expectancy and recovery of those afflicted with this type of cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is the #4 cause of cancer-caused deaths but due to its nature, it isn't usually detected until it's in the late stage. That makes the approval of Abraxane for late-stage pancreatic cancer effectively the de facto treatment for pancreatic cancer. Perhaps the biggest risk factor is increasing age; it typically affects individuals older than 50. It can also appear in younger people, particularly individuals with a family history of the disease.