Avastin & Erbitux Approved In Canada

Lisa Rose
Lisa Rose Member Posts: 598 Member
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Health Canada approves pricey colorectal cancer drugs

Provided by: Canadian Press
Sep. 12, 2005

TORONTO (CP) -- Health Canada has approved two promising but expensive new cancer drugs, Avastin and Erbitux. Both are treatments for advanced colorectal cancer.

Avastin, made by Hoffman-La Roche, was approved for first line therapy of metastasized cancer. Used in combination with chemotherapy, Avastin increases life expectancy by an average of 4.7 months over chemotherapy alone, a news release from the company stated.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth leading cancer diagnosed in Canada and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country. The Canadian Cancer Society estimates 19,600 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year and 8,400 will succumb to it.


Avastin is part of a new generation of anti-angiogenic therapies that work by cutting off the blood supply to tumours, inhibiting their growth. As well, Avastin enhances the activity of chemotherapeutic agents by improving delivery of those drugs to the tumour.

Developed by Genentech BioOncology, the drug is also in clinical trials for use on pancreatic, renal, ovarian and prostate cancers.

While it appears to hold great promise, the drug comes at a steep cost. Treatment in the United States, where the drug was approved in February 2004, costs about $53,000 a year.

Erbitux, developed by ImClone Systems Incorporated, has been shown to shrink tumours in some patients. In the United States, treatment with the drug can approach $100,000 a year.

Health Canada approval only means the companies that make the drugs can market them in Canada. It will be up to individual provinces and territories to determine whether they will pick up the tab for these costly treatments. 16:27ET 12-09-05


  • littlejulie
    littlejulie Member Posts: 311
    I heard about this too!
  • Lisa Rose
    Lisa Rose Member Posts: 598 Member
    Press Release Source: Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada; ImClone Systems Incorporated

    New Treatment Option for Second Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in Canada - Health Canada approves ERBITUX(R) for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer
    Thursday September 15, 6:00 am ET

    MONTREAL, Sept. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada and ImClone Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: IMCL - News) announced today that Health Canada's Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate has approved ERBITUX(R) (Cetuximab) injection as a treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer. ERBITUX has been approved for use in combination with irinotecan in the treatment of patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) - expressing, metastatic colorectal cancer who are refractory to other irinotecan-based chemotherapy, and as single agent therapy for patients who are intolerant to irinotecan- based chemotherapy.

    "ERBITUX is a promising new option for patients in whom irinotecan-based chemotherapy is no longer effective or tolerated," said Doctor Derek Jonker, of the Regional Cancer Centre, in Ottawa. "Clinical studies indicate that non- chemotherapeutic molecular drugs are effective in treating metastatic colorectal cancer."

    ERBITUX targets metastatic colorectal cancer cells expressing epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) on their surface. In Canada, an estimated 19,100 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. Half of these patients have metastatic disease, or cancer that has spread to other organs, at the time of diagnosis. EGFR is expressed in over 80 per cent of colorectal cancer tumours.

    "Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada. New and potentially life-saving treatments are always welcome," said Barry Stein, President of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. "We are pleased that ERBITUX is now approved for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer in Canada."

    Bristol-Myers Squibb expects to have ERBITUX available for Canadian patients in the coming weeks and will work with federal, provincial and regional authorities/hospitals to ensure patients have timely access to this new treatment.

    "Bristol-Myers Squibb is deeply committed to delivering innovative oncology treatments to Canadian patients in need," said Judy Robertson, General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada. "Bristol-Myers Squibb will work closely with health authorities to provide rapid access for Canadian patients to this innovative cancer therapy."

    About ERBITUX

    ERBITUX binds specifically to epidermal growth factor receptor on both normal and tumour cells, and competitively inhibits the binding of EGF and other ligands. Over-expression of EGFR has been detected in many human cancers including those of the colon and rectum.

    At this time, Canadian cancer centres are participating in several international clinical trials which include hundreds of patients taking ERBITUX.