Improving life for cancer patients through transformative drugs
Cancer is the second leading cause of death and around 14 million new cases are diagnosed globally every year1. This number is expected to increase in the future driven by the world’s growing and aging population.
Each type of cancer has a different characteristic and prognosis. Traditionally, cancers are named after the part of the body where it starts (for example lung, prostate and liver) and by the specific cells that have become cancerous (for example hepatocellular carcinoma, lymphomas and small cell lung cancer).
A cancerous tumor occurs when cells divide in an uncontrolled manner. Genetic changes result in the cells stimulating both their own growth and the growth of blood vessels to and from the tumor.
When tumors grow, they can start invading surrounding tissues and also form subsidiary tumors (metastases). Furthermore, the tumor becomes resistant to the body’s immune responses, which would otherwise trigger the death of the cancer cells.
is an important tool to battle cancer. By combining several treatments targeting different mechanisms in the cell cycle, synergies can be reached that result in an improved efficacy.
The FDA has introduced a number of processes to contribute to shorter lead times in drug development, such as “fast track designation”, “breakthrough therapy designation”, “accelerated approval” and “priority review”. Also at the European Medicines Agency EMA there are similar processes. Novel drug treatments can thus have the possibility to reach the cancer patients more rapidly.