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Avastin and the Rotten Kidney

Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Other Drugs, RCC News & Research - No comments

THE ROTTEN KIDNEY on AvastinWe’ve got a soft spot in our hearts for The Rotten Kidney blog because it’s about a family of Arkies in Fayetteville, a place where I spent time in college and as a newspaper editor. In this particular post, Erin Oliver writes about her father’s successful treatment with Avastin, and notes her concerns about the FDA revoking access to Avastin for breast cancer patients. Avastin is a line of therapy for kidney cancer patients, too.

Like her, I get worried when the FDA starts wondering whether we’re worth the “high costs” of some of these drugs. For some folks with kidney cancer, like Erin’s father, Avastin has proven a lifesaver. It proved the same for some women with breast cancer, too. (Even now, the latest Avastin trial results are showing new promise for breast cancer treatment.) Those of us with any type of cancer ought to be worried when the FDA begins considering return on investment for any cancer drug, even if it’s not one that immediately impacts us. Breast cancer patients could be denied access now; kidney cancer patients could be next.

Chemotherapy used to be a high-cost, low-return drug too when it was first being developed. Thank goodness Sidney Farber had the perseverance to keep pushing forward. Today, a few cancers have been reined in thanks to that perseverance. The new lines of drug treatments becoming available for kidney cancer are still young. We need more research. And that requires access to these drugs. It requires perseverance.

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