FDA Approves New Drug to Treat Bladder Cancer

The need for safer and effective drugs is growing as the occurrence of cancer is increasing. Researchers are developing new and highly effective drugs to treat cancer. News published on Thursday, May 19, 2016 reports that the FDA has approved a newly found drug to treat bladder cancer.

A balloon shaped organ in the pelvic area stores urine is your bladder. Cancer that forms in the cells that line the inside of the bladder is called as bladder cancer. It is a most common type of cancer. Bladder cancer usually effects elder adults, but it can occur at any age. Majority of the bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage. Cancer diagnosed at early stage is easy to treat.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved drug named Tecentriq (atezolizumab). This drug treats bladder cancer called urothelial carcinoma. This drug comes under the class of drug called as PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. PD-L1 is programmed death-ligand 1 that is also known as cluster of differentiation 274 (CD274).

The drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab) is:

·         First and lone anti-PDL1 drug approved by the FDA.

·         It is first and only cancer immunotherapy sanctioned for people with locally advanced bladder cancer that is previously treated with platinum- based chemotherapy.

·         And, it is first FDA- approved treatment for specific type of bladder cancer in more than 30 years.

This medicament is used for following indications:

Patients those who have metastatic urothelial carcinoma, and whose:

·         Disease worsened through or following platinum-containing chemotherapy.

·         Disease worsened within 12 months of treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy, moreover before or after surgery.

Mechanism of Tecentriq:

Our body’s immune system can protect the body against cancer by sending T cells to attack tumor cells. T cells are white blood cells. However, tumor cells produce a protein called programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) that inactivates T cells. As the tumor cells proliferate, many other cells join and interact with the tumor cell. These cells express PD-L1 and help to inactivate T cells, and are called as tumor-infiltrating immune cells. Tecentriq binds to PD-L1 present on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells. This drug prevents PD-L1 from binding to other proteins called PD-1, which may remove the inhibition of T-cells and make them active.

The approval of this drug is based on the following points:

v  Urothelial cancer takes place in urinary tract system. Urinary tract system includes kidney, urinary bladder and adjunct organs. It is a common type of bladder cancer of ureter, urethra and urachus.

v  It is predicted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute that an anticipated 76,960 new cases of bladder cancer and 16,390 deaths form this condition will occur in the US in 2016.

v  This drug is first immunotherapy for cancer. Cancer immunotherapy is a category of medicine designed to work with the body’s own immune system.

v  It suggest that patients who are positive to PD-L1 expression may be more likely to respond to treatment with Tecentriq.

v  Thus, companion test to detect PD-L1 protein expression levels in patients are also approved. This will help doctors to identify benefits from this drug.

There are some common side effects associated with this drug:

·         Nausea

·         Urinary tract infection

·         Fever

·         Constipation

·         Fatigue

·         Decreased appetite

Seek immediate medical attention if the above side effect gets serious or prolongs.

Safety information:

·         Inform your healthcare provider about underlying medical conditions before undergoing treatment with this medicine.

·         This drug is not advisable for women who are pregnant.

·         Do not consume Tecentriq if you are planning pregnancy or breast feeding.

·         Before commencing treatment with this medicament inform all the medications, herbal medications or treatments you are undergoing.