Compassionate Drug Access: A Real Option for Cancer Patients?


A recent New York Times article tells the story of one woman’s quest to gain access to an experimental drug to treat her deadly cancer. Her story is familiar to many of us who have heard similar tales; a cancer patient runs out of treatment options, but with the help of proactive oncologists is able to receive a new, investigational drug; that is, a drug not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This last-resort treatment approach is known as compassionate use or, as the FDA prefers to call it, expanded access. The U.S. National Library of Medicine explains: Continue reading…


Roche Gets Breakthrough Status for Lung Cancer Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted breakthrough therapy designation for a lung cancer treatment  called alectinib, made by Roche. The designation was based on new data presented at the European Cancer Congress (ECC).  Alectinib is reported to be effective in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations in the ALK gene. Imporantly, tumor shrinkage was seen in patients whose cancer worsened on crizotinib (Xalkori), the currently approved drug for this subgroup of patents.


Afatinib is FDA-Approved: What It Means For NSCLC Patients


On July 12, the FDA announced that it had approved the targeted therapy afatinib (Gilotrif) for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene.

EGFR mutations occur in about 10 to 15 percent of all NSCLC patients. The overexpression of the EGFR protein caused by the mutation leads to rapid cell division in tumors. Prior to the approval of afatinib, patients in the United States could only take erlotinib (Tarceva) to combat the EGFR mutation. The third major drug available to treat EGFR-mutated tumors, gefitinib (Iressa) has not yet been approved by the United States but is readily available in many other countries. Erlotinib has consistently outperformed gefitinib, so its lack of availability in the U.S. is no huge loss. Continue reading…


Cancer's True Breakthroughs

“A new regulatory pathway established last year allows drugs with dramatic early clinical promise to be expedited to the market quicker than ever before. To date, most of these ‘breakthrough’ designations have gone to cancer agents, raising the prospect of faster access to the latest lifesaving therapies for the estimated 4,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer each day in the US. Elie Dolgin looks at what sets these breakthrough medicines apart.”


Cancer's True Breakthroughs

“A new regulatory pathway established last year allows drugs with dramatic early clinical promise to be expedited to the market quicker than ever before. To date, most of these ‘breakthrough’ designations have gone to cancer agents, raising the prospect of faster access to the latest lifesaving therapies for the estimated 4,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer each day in the US. Elie Dolgin looks at what sets these breakthrough medicines apart.”


Cancer's True Breakthroughs

“A new regulatory pathway established last year allows drugs with dramatic early clinical promise to be expedited to the market quicker than ever before. To date, most of these ‘breakthrough’ designations have gone to cancer agents, raising the prospect of faster access to the latest lifesaving therapies for the estimated 4,500 people newly diagnosed with cancer each day in the US. Elie Dolgin looks at what sets these breakthrough medicines apart.”


Developing Standards for Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Oncology

“In July 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA). The Advancing Breakthrough Therapies for Patients Act was incorporated into a Title of FDASIA to expedite clinical development of new, potential “breakthrough” drugs or treatments that show dramatic responses in early phase studies. Using this regulatory pathway, once a promising new drug candidate is designated as a “Breakthrough Therapy”, the FDA and sponsor would collaborate to determine the best path forward to abbreviate the traditional three-phase approach to drug development.”


Developing Standards for Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Oncology

“In July 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA). The Advancing Breakthrough Therapies for Patients Act was incorporated into a Title of FDASIA to expedite clinical development of new, potential “breakthrough” drugs or treatments that show dramatic responses in early phase studies. Using this regulatory pathway, once a promising new drug candidate is designated as a “Breakthrough Therapy”, the FDA and sponsor would collaborate to determine the best path forward to abbreviate the traditional three-phase approach to drug development.”


Developing Standards for Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Oncology

“In July 2012, Congress passed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA). The Advancing Breakthrough Therapies for Patients Act was incorporated into a Title of FDASIA to expedite clinical development of new, potential “breakthrough” drugs or treatments that show dramatic responses in early phase studies. Using this regulatory pathway, once a promising new drug candidate is designated as a “Breakthrough Therapy”, the FDA and sponsor would collaborate to determine the best path forward to abbreviate the traditional three-phase approach to drug development.”