Wed, Oct 08, 2008 - Page 4 News List

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals promotes new drug for renal cell cancer treatment

By Shelley Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

A new target therapy drug, which can effectively extend the lives of people in the last stages of renal cell cancer by about 11 months, is now on the market, doctors said in Taipei yesterday.

Renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults. In the US, 38,890 people are diagnosed with it each year.

PREVALENCE

Renal cell cancer was the 13th leading cause of death in Taiwan last year, said Wayne Chang (張延驊), a urologist at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital’s department of surgery.

Chang said that if found in the early stages, renal cell cancer is cured more than half the cases.

However, of the 600 people who are diagnosed with renal cell cancer each year, around 40 percent are already in the last stage when the cancer cells are first discovered, he said.

In this stage, the patient has an extremely slim chance of surviving for more than five year, he said.

While treatment of renal cell cancer ranges from surgery to chemotherapy and hormone therapy, the form of treatment depends on the stage of the disease and the person’s overall health, Chang said.

Target therapy is a form of chemotherapy that targets the molecules that feed tumor growth.

In contrast to traditional chemotherapy, target therapy inhibits tumor growth by focusing on the molecules that tumors need to spread, which not only effectively kills cancer cells, but also decreases side effects.

CLINICAL TRIAL

A article published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June last year said clinical trial results showed that patients with poor prognosis in the last stages of renal cell cancer live an average of 11 months longer when treated with Temsirolimus, the first mTOR inhibitor on the world market.

Kuo Lung-hung, vice president of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the firm that developed the drug, said the drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last year, and was recently approved for the Taiwanese market.

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