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NEWS
November 18, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it is revoking approval for the cancer drug Avastin for treatment of breast cancer. Here are some facts about the drug.   What is Avastin?   Avastin (bevacizumab) is a so-called biological therapy and the first drug approved by the FDA that was designed to inhibit growth of blood vessels feeding tumors.   Who makes it? Avastin is made by the biotechnology company Genentech, headquartered in South San Francisco.    How does Avastin work?
ARTICLES BY DATE
SCIENCE
April 23, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Way back in 2002, Dr. Judah Folkman hit upon a tantalizing weight-loss strategy for obese mice. When given daily injections of a drug designed to fight cancer, their fat melted away. The higer the dose they got, the more fat they lost. Some of the obese mice shed so much weight that they wound up at “near normal body weights,” Folkman and his colleagues reported in this article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Whatever happened to this promising fat-busting drug?
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NEWS
December 7, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The FDA last month rescinded approval for Avastin to treat advanced breast cancer because although preliminary studies show it led to longer periods of disease-free survival it did not increase overall survival. But a study presented Wednesday suggests their may be a role for Avastin after all. The phase-3 study was conducted among 424 women a type of breast called HER-2 positive disease. A new analysis of the data, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium found that adding Avastin to a regimen of Herceptin and docetaxel resulted in a 28% reduced rate of disease progression or death.
BUSINESS
April 19, 2013 | By Lisa Zamosky
When Maggie Heim had a recurrence of ovarian cancer about a year after her initial treatment, her oncologist suggested that she take what he believed could be a lifesaving drug. There was just one problem: Her insurer wouldn't pay for it. The 59-year-old Hermosa Beach resident inquired about the cost of the treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she received care. To her alarm, she was told that the cancer-fighting drug, Avastin, would set her back as much as $50,000 a month.
OPINION
July 5, 2011
The debate over whether federal regulators should allow Avastin to be marketed as a breast cancer treatment has been characterized as a battle between science and emotion. On one side stands a Food and Drug Administration appeals panel that urged the agency last week to rescind its approval of the drug's use against advanced breast cancer, citing clinical studies that showed no improvement in a patient's chances of survival or quality of life. On the other is a group of women who told the panel at a hearing that they'd be dead if not for Avastin.
NEWS
December 29, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Doctors and patients eager for better ways to treat advanced ovarian cancer were encouraged by two new studies showing that adding Avastin to traditional chemotherapy drugs allowed women with the disease to live a few months before their cancer returned or worsened. The two large , international studies credited Avastin with providing an additional 3.8 months and 3.6 months of “progression-free survival.” (The reports in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine weren't able to say whether the women who took Avastin lived longer overall.)
NEWS
January 25, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Use of Avastin for treating breast cancer that has spread was revoked by the Food and Drug Administration in November due to evidence that the drug did not extend survival. Two studies published Wednesday suggest Avastin may be helpful in some women with earlier-stage breast cancers. But many more questions remain about the drug's ultimate value in treating breast cancer. The two studies, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine , will rekindle the debate over the use of Avastin for breast cancer but are not by themselves convincing.
NEWS
June 29, 2011 | By Christine Mai-Duc, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON…A panel of advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted 6-0 to halt the use of cancer drug Avastin for the treatment of breast cancer, saying studies have failed to show Avastin is effective for that purpose. The recommendation Wednesday came after two days of testimony from patients, doctors, and advocacy groups. The panel faced several tearful accounts, like that of Crystal Hanna, a mother of two who will celebrate her 36th birthday Friday. "I'm a testament that the drug does work…I'm not just a statistic," she said.
NEWS
June 30, 2011 | By Chris Woolston, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Avastin is known as a cancer fighter, but its biggest battles lately have been with the Food and Drug Administration. In the latest round, an FDA panel unanimously ruled that the drug should no longer be approved for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.  The decision — which could still be overruled but probably won’t be — may feel like a defeat for those who want to throw everything possible at breast cancer. But it’s also a reminder that in health policy, numbers carry more weight than hope.
BUSINESS
December 20, 2008 | Times Wire Reports
Genentech Inc. has received 36 reports of eye inflammation in Canadian patients who were given the cancer drug Avastin to treat eye diseases. The South San Francisco company said the injuries developed when doctors used Avastin to treat macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Avastin isn't approved for use in the chronic eye diseases.
NEWS
March 21, 2013 | By Melissa Healy
A compounding company in Augusta, Ga., has recalled syringes of the cancer drug Avastin it supplied over five months to physicians treating vision problems after the Food and Drug Administration received word that five patients who received the compounded medication came down with eye infections that could leave them blind. The FDA announced the recall Thursday after regulators conducted a preliminary inspection of Clinical Specialties Compounding Pharmacy and found "practices at the site that raise concerns about a lack of sterility assurance.
SCIENCE
June 20, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Lucentis, known generically as ranibizumab, is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, commonly known as AMD. But Lucentis costs as much as $2,000 per dose, so many physicians have begun substituting the similar anti-cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab), which costs less than $150 per dose. Some studies have indicated that Avastin is just as effective as Lucentis, and many public agencies in the United States and Canada have begun authorizing its use in an effort to save money, although such use has not been approved by the FDA or its Canadian equivalent.
NEWS
May 7, 2012
It sounds too good to be true, but a Chicago doctor is reporting that a drug-like dietary supplement, or nutriceutical, called Longevinex -- which contains the purported anti-aging chemical resveratrol -- may control or even reverse the symptoms of wet macular degeneration, a severe form of visual impairment. If the results prove to hold up, the treatment would have a great advantage over existing ones, which require injection of chemicals directly into the eye. Longevinex, in contrast, can be taken orally.
HEALTH
January 30, 2012 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
In November, following an emotional public hearing some months earlier, the Food and Drug Administration withdrew approval for the cancer drug Avastin for patients with metastatic breast cancer - the late-stage, incurable form of the disease. The reason: emerging evidence that the drug does not prolong life and also that it's been linked to serious side effects. Now, confusingly, Avastin is back in the news again - this time, with positive results in two early trials of women with early-stage breast cancer whose tumors have not traveled beyond the breast or nearby lymph nodes.
NEWS
January 25, 2012 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Use of Avastin for treating breast cancer that has spread was revoked by the Food and Drug Administration in November due to evidence that the drug did not extend survival. Two studies published Wednesday suggest Avastin may be helpful in some women with earlier-stage breast cancers. But many more questions remain about the drug's ultimate value in treating breast cancer. The two studies, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine , will rekindle the debate over the use of Avastin for breast cancer but are not by themselves convincing.
NEWS
December 29, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Doctors and patients eager for better ways to treat advanced ovarian cancer were encouraged by two new studies showing that adding Avastin to traditional chemotherapy drugs allowed women with the disease to live a few months before their cancer returned or worsened. The two large , international studies credited Avastin with providing an additional 3.8 months and 3.6 months of “progression-free survival.” (The reports in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine weren't able to say whether the women who took Avastin lived longer overall.)
SCIENCE
June 20, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Lucentis, known generically as ranibizumab, is the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, commonly known as AMD. But Lucentis costs as much as $2,000 per dose, so many physicians have begun substituting the similar anti-cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab), which costs less than $150 per dose. Some studies have indicated that Avastin is just as effective as Lucentis, and many public agencies in the United States and Canada have begun authorizing its use in an effort to save money, although such use has not been approved by the FDA or its Canadian equivalent.
BUSINESS
March 15, 2008 | From Bloomberg News
Genentech Inc. on Friday raised the lower end of its 2008 forecast on increasing demand for the cancer drug Avastin. Shares of the biotechnology company fell $2.60, or just over 3%, to $78.83 "because they didn't raise the high end" of the forecast range, said Michael King, an analyst with Rodman & Renshaw Inc. in New York. Genentech expects to earn $3.35 to $3.45 a share in 2008, excluding some expenses, the South San Francisco-based company said. That's up from its previous forecast of $3.30 to $3.45, excluding certain expenses such as employee stock options.
HEALTH
December 28, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Avastin can stabilize tumors in women suffering from advanced-stage ovarian cancer, extending the period before the disease worsens by more than 3.5 months, according to the results of two large, international clinical trials conducted by separate research teams. The findings, published in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, come less than a week after the European Commission approved Avastin for treating women newly diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. The drug, known generically as bevacizumab, has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ovarian cancer in the U.S. Though Avastin has not been shown to prolong the lives of women with ovarian cancer and does come with significant side effects, it offers some hope for treating what remains the deadliest of gynecologic cancers, researchers said.
NEWS
December 7, 2011 | By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The FDA last month rescinded approval for Avastin to treat advanced breast cancer because although preliminary studies show it led to longer periods of disease-free survival it did not increase overall survival. But a study presented Wednesday suggests their may be a role for Avastin after all. The phase-3 study was conducted among 424 women a type of breast called HER-2 positive disease. A new analysis of the data, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium found that adding Avastin to a regimen of Herceptin and docetaxel resulted in a 28% reduced rate of disease progression or death.
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