New cancer immunotherapy drugs rapidly reach patients after approval
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New Haven, Conn.– The majority of patients eligible for cancer immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors received treatment within a few months of FDA approval, according to a new Yale-led study. The finding suggests that cancer immunotherapies are adopted at a much quicker pace than is typical for newly approved medical treatments, the researchers said.

However, patients receiving the therapies are older than those in the clinical trials used to evaluate them, pointing to a disconnect between research and practice that should be addressed, they noted.

The study was published in JAMA Oncology.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have transformed cancer care, leading to dramatic responses in patients with advanced cancers who previously had very limited chances for long-term survival. To evaluate the speed with which these drugs are adopted after FDA approval, the Yale team collaborated with researchers from Flatiron Health, an oncology software and services company that develops real-world datasets from a national network of oncology clinics and academic research centers.

The researchers found that it took less than four months after approval for the majority of eligible patients to receive treatment with at least one of the drugs. The patients included individuals treated for melanoma, non-small cell lung

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