Experimental Drug Ramucirumab Improves Chemotherapy Impact on Lung Cancer Patients

Experimental Drug Ramucirumab Improves Chemotherapy Impact on Lung Cancer Patien

An experimental drug, ramucirumab, has been found to extend the life of patients with advanced lung cancer. The drug has been found to increase the survival by more than a month in patients who relapsed after chemotherapy treatment.

In a clinical trial, the impact of Eli Lilly and Co.'s drug Cyramza was tested on 1,200 patients. In April 2014, FDA approved Cyramza (ramucirumab) as a single-agent treatment for patients with advanced or metastatic gastric cancer or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) adenocarcinoma with disease progression.

Richard Gaynor, M.D., senior vice president, product development and medical affairs for Lilly Oncology, said, “Until now, there were no FDA-approved options for patients in this indication. We are pleased that the FDA has approved CYRAMZA for these patients. This is an aggressive disease that is difficult to treat, and the prognosis has typically been very poor.”

However, medical experts have raised questions over the high cost of treatment and very little extension for terminally ill patients. Cyramza costs $6,000 for each infusion. Patients given ramucirumab plus chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer had survival rate of 10.5 months compared to patients who were given placebo with chemotherapy, having mean survival time of 9.1 months.

Very limited options are available for patients when the cancer returns. Ramucirumab has been found to reduce the size of tumor and also helps in reducing the creation of new blood vessels in tumors. Medical team noticed shrinkage of tumor in 23 percent of patients administered ramucirumab along with chemotherapy.

The study was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago on Saturday.

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