UAE Approval of a breakthrough breast cancer drug
Thousands of breast cancer patients in the UAE have been given new hope following the approval of a breakthrough drug by the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health
"This news will definitely bring hope for thousands of breast cancer patients in the UAE. It is a step forward in making new treatments available for patients who have progression of their breast cancer after treatment with other effective breast cancer therapies," said Dr. Hassan Jaafar, Consultant Oncologist at Tawam Hospital, Al Ain
The approval of the breast cancer pill means that the drug will soon be available in the UAE. “Patients globally could perhaps expect that other regulatory approvals will follow suit now that the UAE has added the treatment to its approved list.” Dr. Jaafar added.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration, USA) in November 2006 granted a Priority Review and has very recently awarded approval for the drug Tykerb (lapatinib), developed by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, for patients with advanced cases of breast cancer and now the UAE is the second country worldwide to approve the drug.
The approval by the UAE Ministry of Health means Tykerb (lapatinib) can be used in combination with Xeloda (capectabine) for patients with advanced, metastatic breast cancer tumors that exhibit HER2 protein. The combination is indicated for women who previously have been given other cancer drugs, such as an anthracycline, a taxane and trastuzumab (Herceptin).
One in every ten women suffers from breast cancer annually. According to the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMMS) and breast cancer is considered the most common type of cancer among women in UAE. Many women contract the cancer at young age, many of them before they are 40.
In the UAE there are approximately 210 cases of breast cancer patients, of which 40% are considered to be in their advance stage although no official statistic is available. In The United States an average of 40,000 women die of metastatic HER2 positive breast cancer annually with 200,000 cases reported annually.
The vital drug is also currently being investigated in other solid tumors where GSK has recently initiated the first global Phase III study of lapatinib treatment in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). SCCHN is the sixth most common cancer worldwide taking away lives of over 40,000 people every year.