ALIMTA WINS FDA APPROVAL
Feds approve Alimta for advanced-stage lung cancer
July 6, 2009 -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug Alimta as the first maintenance treatment for advanced lung cancer.
Patients suffering from the advanced stages of mesothelioma or lung cancer are traditionally treated with four to six rounds of chemotherapy, and then treatment stops for patients whose tumors either stop growing or shrink.
FDA approves Alimta
With FDA approval of Alimta as the first maintenance treatment for advanced lung cancer, the FDA has given doctors the official go-ahead to continue treatment with Alimta in patients with certain types of non-small cell lung cancer. Alimta, considered a less-toxic chemotherapy drug, is initially given with cisplatin to treat lung cancer.
“This drug represents a new approach in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer,” said the director of the FDA's Office of Oncology Drug Products.
Most people with lung cancer are diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer that cannot be surgically removed, or has spread to other parts of the body. The majority of people with advanced lung cancer survive less than one year.
Alimta, manufactured by Eli Lilly and Co., also has been approved for use alone or in combination with other chemotherapies to treat two other advanced forms of lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
Eli Lilly launched Alimta in 2004. It generated $1.15 billion in sales last year as Lilly's sixth-best selling drug. It brought in $335 million in the first quarter this year.
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