The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently awarded a Breakthrough Therapy Designation to research company Genetech for its work with small cell lung cancer. This is the second designation for Genetech, a member of the Roche Group, and was granted for the company’s investigational cancer immunotherapy MPDL3280A (anti-PDL1). The treatment for people with Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) positive non-small cell cancer of the lung (NSCLC) and used as a targeted therapy for patients with progressed stages of the disease who have already had chemotherapy.
The Breakthrough Therapy Designation comes after early promising results in people whose Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer was considered Programmed Death Ligand 1 positive. MPDL3280A has shown promising results with this population in early studies; continued research will evaluate effectiveness in both PD-L1 positive and negative patients.
According to the American Lung Cancer Society, more than 200,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States alone in 2015, and 85% of those diagnosed will have Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), the type targeted by MPDL3280A. More than half of the cses diagnosed annually are only found once they have reached an advanced stage; resulting in a high number of unfavorable patient outcomes.
As the number one cause of cancer deaths around the globe, lung cancer has been targeted for research by Genetech, according to the company’s chief medical officer Sandra Horning. "We are committed to personalized healthcare, developing medicines like MPDL3280A with companion tests that may help us identify those who may be appropriate candidates for our medicines", says Horning, speaking of the company’s approach to research and development.
Genetech's 30 years of experience in the field of medical research makes them ideally positioned to tackle this growing medical issue. FDA recognition can help fast track treatment and medicine and make successful protocols available to lung cancer patients. For current patients or for those with family members struggling with lung cancer, news of breakthroughs and new discoveries provide much needed hope for the future.
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