New drug proven ef­fec­tive against stom­ach can­cer

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai

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.

In ad­di­tion


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.

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