Avastin is one of a newer set of medications called anti-angiogenesis drugs. The medications work by choking off blood supply to tumors. This stops the tumors from shaping new blood vessels and cuts off their development. It had already been approved for use to treat colorectal cancer and also lung cancer.
In the United States cancer of lung is the foremost cause of cancer death, claiming more than 163,000 lives annually. For the reason that the disease is frequently not found until it has spread, a good number of patients die within a year or two of diagnosis. Only 15% of patients live five years after being made a diagnosis.
Avastin has demonstrated survival benefits across numerous tumour types. In Europe Avastin is approved for the treatment of the advanced stages of four common types of cancer: colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and also kidney cancer. These types of cancer together lead to nearly 3 million deaths yearly. In the US, Avastin was the first anti-angiogenesis therapy approved by the FDA.
More than 500,000 patients have been treated with Avastin up to now. A comprehensive clinical programme with more than 450 clinical trials is examining the usage of Avastin in a variety of tumour types (including colorectal, lung, gastric, prostate, breast, brain, ovarian and other cancers).
It is at present being tested in many clinical trials including use with other targeted treatments, in earlier stage non-small cell lung cancer; use with other sorts of chemotherapies; after surgical removal of lung tumors; as a maintenance treatment.
The most significant side effect was severe bleeding in the lungs. It has been observed in other studies of Avastin in lung cancer patients, particularly in people with squamous-cell lung cancer.
Other targeted therapies (Tarceva and Iressa) have been approved for the disease, but they are not effectual when given in company with chemotherapy. For that reason, they are utilized simply when chemotherapy is no longer working.