New drug proven effective against stomach cancer
A domestically developed drug used to treat advanced stomach cancer has been recently approved by the China Food and Drug Administration.
The oral tablet apatinib mesylate, first of its kind in the world, is a small-molecule, antiangiogenesis targeting drug that has proved effective and safe in treating advanced stomach cancer.
allowing patients with terminal stomach cancer to live years longer, it can also help improve patients’ willingness to take the drug and lower the treatment burden, the country’s health and family planning commission said at its official website.
“Compared with other Western countries, the incidence of stomach cancer in China is much higher,” Professor Li Jin, who works at Shanghai Tumor Hospital, said at a stomach forum in Shanghai this month. “Meanwhile, about 70 to 80 percent of patients in the terminal stage of stomach cancer will encounter the failure of chemotherapy.
In this regard, there is an urgent need for a kind of drug that can help continue the treatment. Li said that the new drug has been a breakthrough in the treatment of stomach cancer.
Official statistics showed that there were about 952,000 new stomach cancer cases worldwide in 2013, 47 percent of those in China. The incidence of stomach cancer was second place among China’s malignant tumors.
The high incidence of stomach cancer has a connection to the high infection rate of Helicobacter pylori bacteria and China’s traditional eating habits.
Experts said about 60 to 80 percent patients were discovered in a late stage because the early symptoms of stomach cancer are not typical and the gastroscope examination has not been used widely. Due to the limited treatment methods, the survival rate within five years is lower than 20 percent.
The drug was produced by the Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co, based in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province; three R&D centers and production bases are respectively located in Shanghai, Chengdu and New Jersey.
A total of 38 hospitals across China had participated into the clinical trials to confirm the drug’s efficacy and safety. The longest survival period recorded has reached about 44 months, according to experts.