Bevicizumab, more widely known by the trade-name Avastin, was a drug first approved by the FDA in February of 2004. Avastin was a drug that was first and foremost designed to treat a wide array of cancers, including colon cancer, lung cancer, glioblastoma and renal cell carcinoma. Bevicizumab basically works by inhibiting the nutrients for the cancer to survive, thereby slowing its growth in the patient and extending their life. Avastin has been demonstrated to provide great benefits for cancer patients who desire to extend their life and improve the quality of their life as well.
According to the “FDA approval history for Avastin”, the drug was first approved to combat metatastic colorectal cancer nine years ago. In 2006, the drug was approved for use in treating lung cancer, and in 2009, it was approved for use in combating many forms of brain cancer. That same year, Avastin was also approved by the FDA to help treat a common type of kidney cancer. While Avastin is certainly not a cure for cancer, the development of this drug has shown the great strides that cancer research has taken.
Although scientists have indeed made great strides in the development of cancer-treating drugs such as Avastin, this treatment has shown to many that it is not lacking in controversy. Scientists still have a long way to go in their goal of the effective treatment of cancer. The FDA granted Avastin provisional approval for the treatment of breast cancer in 2008; however, that designation was revoked in 2011 when scientific studies demonstrated that Bevacizumab showed no direct benefit in treatment.
Recently, Avastin has been in the spot light again, however this time for some not promising reasons. Clinical Specialties, a pharmacy that repackages and distributes drugs such as Avastin, voluntarily recalled all of its sterile products due to the lack of sterility assurance which caused five patients to be diagnosed with serious eye infections associated with the use of this product.
The recent bad press of this cancer-fighting drug should underscore to the layman just how difficult it can be to conduct thorough and effective cancer research and to devise effective cancer-fighting drugs. We as a society can be very thankful that scientists continue to devote their career to the development of drugs such as Avastin to help deter cancer. Even though it is a trial-and-error process, we know that with determination there will one day be a cure for the dreaded “C” word.