Data unveiled at the European Cancer Congress, Vienna on Sunday suggests that the new cancer drug from the house of Roche has produced positive results when tested on patients with certain forms of bladder and lung cancers.
During the Phase II trial in patients with metastatic or advanced bladder cancer, Roche’s new immunotherapy drug called Atezolizumab succeeded in shrinking tumors in 27% of patients who had medium to high levels of PD-L1. For those who don’t know: PD-L1 is a protein known for its ability to help cancer escape the patient’s immune system.
Roche further informed that in two different Phase II trials in patients with advanced non small cell lung cancer, it was found that individuals treated with Atezolizumab had 7.7 more months of survival compared to the ones receiving chemotherapy. In addition, the drug also succeeded in shrinking the tumors in as much as 27% of the lung cancer patients who had highest levels of the protein PD-L1 and whose cancer progressed even after undergoing other forms of treatment.
Roche, the pharmaceutical company regarded as the largest manufacturer of cancer drugs, is currently counting on Atezolizumab as the company’s next blockbuster for offering stiff competition to rival groups such as Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. The Swiss firm is hoping to launch the drug onto the market by the final quarter of 2016. Company representatives are saying that data obtained from these recently unveiled studies will help in accelerating the launch.
The chief medical officer of Roche Sandra Hornung in one of her recent statements said that next, Roche will be submitting the results of these latest studies to global health authorities for making the possible new option to individuals in need as quickly as possible.
This February, the US Food & Drug Administration awarded Roche the prestigious ‘breakthrough therapy status’ for its new cancer drug Atezolizumab. The agency is now labeling the drug as the first new therapy for patients with bladder cancer in the past three decades.
Thomas Buechele, the company’s head of global medical affairs in oncology and hematology, said that at present chemotherapy is not competent enough to provide durable responses when used in individuals with bladder cancer.