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HomeMedical Information Privacy PolicyInnovative MedicineFor the First Time in 30 Years, a New Drug for Metastatic Bladder Cancer

For the First Time in 30 Years, a New Drug for Metastatic Bladder Cancer

1/15/2017 | By: Dr. A. Peer

Immunotherapy, the revolutionary treatment that harnesses the immune system against cancer supplies another breakthrough

Treatments of metastatic Bladder cancer have been stagnant for over 3 decades.
 
Over 10,000 patients are diagnosed with this malignancy annually, most of which are earlier stage. In these cases, surgery, a special method of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are available. 15% however are diagnosed with advanced, spread disease which is more difficult to treat. Chemotherapy is the only option for metastatic bladder cancer, with only one line of treatment being offered. This means that if the initial chemotherapy doesn't work, there are no alternatives.
 
This is why the recent breakthrough is so exciting. Immunotherapy has been celebrated as the latest and greatest in oncology since 2013, when the acclaimed journal Science declared it to be the breakthrough of the year. Ever since, it has supplied cutting edge drugs for skin, lung, renal and uterine cancer. Now, the same underlying method has been successfully applied to bladder cancer. 
 
Atezolizumab or Tecentriq is the name of the new drug that was recently approved for use by the FDA. Authorization followed publication of a study which showed serious advantages. The study followed 310 metastatic cancer patients that were treated with the new drug. Results were overwhelming; almost double the overall survival rates after a year of treatment compared with chemotherapy. Most patients treated continued to have positive responses at two year follow ups. 
 
Although Tecentriq is the first immunotherapy drug authorized for Bladder cancer, a number of others are currently being studied. Leading pharma companies are rushing to get FDA approval so they can get their drugs into the market. For many this is good news, making the prospects of late stage bladder cancer a little bit brighter. 
 

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