Avastin, or bevacizumab is about to be used as a method of treating cancer, following surgery, and in conjunction with standard treatment for chemotherapy. Roche recently made the announcement, following the approval by the European Union to use it for ovarian cancer.
The chief medical officer and head of development is Hal Barron, who stated:
This approval means the first significant treatment for ovary tumors in 15 years.
Avastin is one of only a few drugs suitable for multiple cancers, as this marks the 5th tumor type for which it has been approved.
About 250,000 women all over the world are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and around 60 percent of those die from it, making it the 8th most common cancer.
Until this approval, there had only been limited treatment options available for ovarian cancer, so this is a huge step in fighting the disease.
Because it is is often diagnosed late and by then has already spread, the cancer is a major killer, and treatment typically involves removing the tumor, followed by chemotherapy for the cancer.
A woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer who received Avastin and underwent chemotherapy generally lived a lot longer, without the disease worsening. This is according to phase II studies, GOG0218 and ICON7.
Avastin is effective as it inhibits high levels of vascular endothelial growth (VEGF), which can cause tumors to develop and spread. VGEF can often mean less chance of recovering, and a greater chance of excess cavity fluids.
Originally approved in 2004, Avastin has become the first widely available anti-angiogenic therapy.