FDA Approvals, News & Updates

Approvals for new delivery methods for Herceptin and Cinvanti, and a new indication for Lonsurf close out the month of February in the FDA’s oncology-related activity.
On February 15, 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the immunotherapy agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda; Merck) for the adjuvant treatment of patients with resected stage III melanoma. This was the fourth approval pembrolizumab has received in the United States for the treatment of skin cancer, and the first FDA approval in the adjuvant setting.
On February 12, 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for daratumumab (Darzalex; Janssen), a CD38-directed antibody, to be given in a split-dosing regimen to patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Darzalex is the first and only CD38-directed antibody to receive regulatory approval for the treatment of patients with MM and is the first to be approved for the split-dosing regimen. This new regimen gives patients and healthcare providers the option to split the first dose of Darzalex over the course of 2 consecutive days, which has the benefit of shortening the duration of the first infusion.
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Now in its fourth week, the longest shutdown in the history of the federal government is having an impact on patient care, as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has put drug reviews and approvals for new drugs and devices, as well as the issuance of new guidance documents, on indefinite hold.
Perhaps the greatest turning point in the history of medicine occurred sometime in the 20th century, when medical practice started doing more good than harm.
HER2-positive breast cancers are aggressive tumors and can spread to other parts of the body, making adjuvant therapy an important part of the treatment plan.
On July 11, 2017, the FDA approved an expanded indication for blinatumomab (Blincyto; Amgen) to include the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-positive (Ph+), relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
On June 29, 2017, the FDA authorized the marketing of ClearLLab Reagents (from Beckman Coulter, Inc), the first test that is agency approved to aid flow cytometry in the marking and detecting of several blood cancers
On July 12, 2017, the FDA’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee unanimously recommended the approval of Novartis’s CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel)—the first ever chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy to be presented to the FDA for review for the treatment of pediatric patients and young adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
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