Avastin, new hope for Brain Cancer patients


approved-stampGenentech, now a part of Roche announced Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Avastin (active ingredient: bevacizumab), a drug to fight brain cancer. Avastin brings hope to brain cancers patients as FDA has approved a drug in this segment after more than a decade. Ten thousand people in the United States are estimated to be affected by glioblastoma – the same type of tumor Sen. Edward Kennedy.


What is a glioblastoma?

 (D-Mass) has been fighting. Let’s have a look what is glioblastoma is all about? Glioblastoma is a primary form of brain cancer. It accounts for 30 percent of all brain tumors. Glioblastoma is also called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) or grade IV astrocytoma.



Is it a brain tumor?

Yes, GBM is a malignant brain tumor. A tumor is a mass of extra cells that a physical body does not need.


What are the symptoms of glioblastoma?

Headaches, memory loss, seizures and behavioral changes are the most common symptoms. The symptoms are dependent upon the location of the tumor in the brain.

Who is at higher risk?

GBM occur most often in older adults, both men and women. Less than 10 percent of childhood brain tumors are GBM.


What are the standard treatments of glioblastoma?

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Most common treatment options include, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical removal of tumors; although none of these options can provide a cure. The average survival rate for GBM is only about 12 months. However, continuing advancements in microsurgery techniques, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are improving the survival time for patients diagnosed with GBM. Recently, FDA granted an accelerated review of the cancer drug Avastin for use in the treatment of GBM, which is contingent upon indication from the clinical trial.


In some patients, Avastin have stopped the advancement of GBMs as well as dramatically reduced tumor size in 30 to 40 percent of patients. According to Schiff, professor of neurology, neurosurgery and medicine in the University of Virginia School of Medicine, “it’s not a cure, but this treatment does improve quality of life and prolong life”.

How does Avastin works?

Avastin inhibits a protein called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) to control the growth of new blood vessels that supply blood to tumors.

Is Avastin a new drug?

No, Avastin isn’t a new drug. The FDA first approved Avastin in February 2004 to treat metastatic colorectal cancer, in October 2006 to treat a certain type of advanced lung cancer in combination with chemotherapy. In Feb 2008, Avastin was approved for use with chemotherapy to treat certain cases of advanced breast cancer.

Sources: ccrcal.org/Glioblastoma | webmd.com/brain-cancer | healthnews.com/medical-updates

3 Responses

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