It has been a long time since I have read about any medical progress related to cancer but…
On Tuesday, the FDA approved Swiss Drugmaker Roche Holding AG’s cancer immunotherapy, Tecentriq, for people with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Tecentriq will only be use in cancer patients who have been previously treated with chemotherapy, regardless of whether or not the patients’ tumors express a protein called PD-L1. However, “Tecentriq is the first and only approved cancer immunotherapy designed to target the PD-L1 protein, which may play an important role in the way the medicine works,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development.
The drug’s development process consists of over 15 clinical trials in lung cancer. Study results showed that patients getting treated with Tecentriq lived on average 4.2 months longer than those getting treated with chemotherapy.
There are a few other drugs that precede Tecentriq, such as Opdivo and Keytruda, that are going to need to make some room in the treatment market. Similar to Tecentriq, Opdivo is prescribed to patients regardless of PD-L1 expression. But Keytruda is prescribed only to patients who express a certain level of PD-L1. Nonetheless, they are the beginning of a new generation of immunotherapy drugs that are fighting for primary position in cancer treatment.
Business Insider states that because lung cancer is responsible for 20 percent of the 8 million annual cancer deaths worldwide, it is a top commercial opportunity.