Showing posts from July, 2018

India accounts for 60% of head and neck cancer cases, numbers to double by 2030

Owing to increased use of tobacco, India contributes to nearly 60% of  head and neck cancer — inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat — patients worldwide. The number is expected to double by 2030, health experts said on Saturday. “Global contribution of head and neck cancer patients is 57.5% in India. Out of these 80,000 cases annually are cases of oral cancer,” said Kumar Prabhash from Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai. “Tobacco is one of the major cause behind these cases of head and neck cancers. And we are estimating the number of cases to double by 2030,” added Sumit Goyal from Department of Medical Oncology at Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute in New Delhi. In a clinical study, presented recently at the annual conference of American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), in Chicago, the experts led by Prabhash concluded that a molecule called Nimotuzumab along with chemo-radiotherapy might be a better and effective treatment against head and neck cancers. Nimotu

IBM Watson gave ‘unsafe and incorrect’ cancer treatment options

Despite receiving praise for its ability to determine cancer treatments, IBM Watson – the company’s AI doctor – also could have put lives in danger. Artificial intelligence (AI) can only be as good as the people who trained it. In the case of IBM Watson, some medical experts believe a major oversight could have potentially threatened the lives of patients. According to  Stat  (via  Engadget ), a group of clinicians using IBM Watson for Oncology found “multiple examples of unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations” being made by the AI. In one instance during testing, a 65-year-old patient with severe bleeding was diagnosed with a drug that may have led to a “severe or fatal haemorrhage”. A report compiled by these oncologists said that the fault in the system was likely down to IBM engineers and the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center, which helped develop the AI. More specifically, those who designed the AI’s insight fed it hypothetical patient data and treat

Dr Reddy's launches Hervycta to treat cancer in India

Drug major Dr Reddy's Laboratories (DRL) today announced the launch of Hervycta, indicated for the treatment of certain types of cancer, in India. Hervycta (Trastuzumab), a biosimilar of Roche's Herceptin in India, is used for treatment of early breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer and metastatic gastric cancer).  Hervycta is available in strengths of 150 mg and 440 mg multiple dose vials, the company said in a regulatory filing.  "We strive every day to do what matters  most for patients. Hervycta is a step forward in our effort to accelerate access to cancer patients in India, in the Oncology biosimilar space," Dr Reddy's Laboratories CEO-Branded Markets (India and Emerging Markets) MV Ramana said.  Quoting Ipsos data, the company said the Herceptin and its biosimilars had India sales of Rs 290 crore for the most recent 12 months ending in December 2017.  Dr Reddy's currently has four biosimilar products commercialised in India  and various emerging mark

Sun Pharma gets USFDA nod for cancer treatment injection

Drug major Sun Pharmaceutical Industries today said it has received approval from the US health regulator for  its INFUGEM injection used for treatment of cancer.   This is the first US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)  approval for a product from the company's Halol facility  after receipt of Establishment Inspection Report (EIR) in  June 2018, Sun Pharma said in a statement.  The approval from the USFDA is for INFUGEM injection  (gemcitabine in 0.9 per cent sodium chloride injection)  10 mg/mL, for intravenous use in a ready-to-administer  bag, it added.   Sun Pharma, North America CEO, Abhay Gandhi said,  "We're pleased to add this novel product to our expanding  oncology portfolio, as gemcitabine is one of the most  commonly used cytotoxics in oncology practices."  The technology used to formulate INFUGEM eliminates the risks  associated with compounding, an extra step in the  administration of cytotoxic infusion products, providing  improved saf

Brachytherapy can now reduce treatment time for breast cancer

A new form of treatment, Brachytherapy can now reduce treatment time for breast cancers. The technique involves the insertion of radioactive implants directly into the cancer cell tissue. As for treatment, breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy and hormonal treatment/chemotherapy depending on the type of cancer is the standard care for newly diagnosed breast cancer in elderly women. ‘External radiation therapy lasting 4-6 weeks involves 21 to 31 sittings. But, with use of brachytherapy techniques, we can reduce treatment time to one week. Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) and HDR Brachytherapy are the techniques used in these women,’ said a doctor, Manish Chandra. This technique, however, comes with strict selection criteria; it is prescribed for women around 50 years or above when the tumour size is less than 3 cm provided there is a non-involvement of axiliary nodes. If planned properly, it can be done in a cancer-oriented set up during primary

China speeds cancer drug price cuts amid outcry over smuggled Indian generics

Get ready, cancer drug makers. China is eyeing speedier price cuts on oncology drugs, thanks to an outcry over a movie that publicized smugglers sneaking cheaper generics into the country. And the drugs targeted for cuts are mostly Big Pharma therapies. The country’s newly formed, all-powerful health insurance administration aims to deepen discounts on cancer drugs already on its National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL). The effort would use public bidding and procurement specifically centered on cancer therapies. Meanwhile, officials will start enlistment negotiations for treatments not yet included on the coverage list, according to the state-run  China Central Television . A new focus on cancer costs was announced during a government press conference in late April, right before the country removed import tariffs and reduced import value-added tax to 3% on all cancer therapies. The government hopes drugmakers will factor in those favorable tax moves when pitching prices on the

Glenmark expands its oncology franchise in India with launch of Helsinn's Akynzeo

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Swiss pharma group  Helsinn  today announced the launch of  Akynzeo , a fixed dose combination drug for prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, in India.  The drug has been launched in the Indian market under an exclusive licensing agreement, the companies said in a joint statement.  The product has been developed by Helsinn and  Glenmark  has exclusive marketing rights for it in India and Nepal, it added.  Helsinn is focused on helping people with cancer get the best out of every day and is pleased to be expanding its availability, said Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO Riccardo Braglia.  "Akynzeo is a single-dose oral capsule for each chemotherapy cycle that covers both the acute and delayed phase of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV)," Glenmark President India Formulations, Middle East and Africa Sujesh Vasudevan said.  The product is already being marketed in the EU, the US and several other leading markets of t