Patients, Scientists In Different Corners For Cancer Drug Fight
The drug, Avastin, will be the subject of an unusual Food and Drug Administration hearing to revisit a panel vote last July that steered many doctors away from prescribing the drug for the treatment of breast cancer.
CNN: Patients, Scientists At Odds Over Breast Cancer Drug
The panel's vote last July has already steered many doctors away from prescribing Avastin, according to Charlotte Arnold, a Genentech spokeswoman. She said the number of patients receiving the drug dropped from about 60 percent of new cases to only 20-25 percent. Metastatic breast cancer is diagnosed in approximately 29,000 women in the U.S. every year. With an illness where a few extra months of life amounts to a "good" outcome, stories like Howard's strike a chord. Tuesday morning, she wasn't alone, as more than two dozen women, friends and supporters lined up to tell their tales, often to a smattering of applause (Hellerman, 6/28).
National Journal: Avastin Battle Illustrates Washington's Health Care Pressures
Of course, it's the FDA's job to do precisely what it is doing - decide which drugs are safe and effective enough to use and which are not. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg will make the decision on Avastin after reviewing the evidence presented at the meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. Strong evidence shows that while Avastin can have remarkable effects on some tumors of the colon, brain, and elsewhere, it doesn't help breast cancer patients live any longer, and it can in fact kill some people. It is the world's best-selling cancer drug, but it also has side effects ranging from internal bleeding to high blood pressure (Fox, 6/28).