In a major setback for American biotechnology company Genentech, the US Food and Drug Administration has rescinded its approval for Avastin as a mode of treatment for breast cancer.
Avastin had been given approval by the FDA to be used in treating breast cancer patients back in 2008. However further studies have shown that the drug does not increase the lifespan or provide any benefits for patients with breast cancer to justify the risks for taking the drug.
The drug works by starving the cancer cells by stopping the blood supply but comes with a number of serious side effects including severe high blood pressure, massive bleeding, heart attack or heart failure and tissue tears in the stomach and intestines.
"With so much at stake, patients and their doctors count on the FDA to ensure the drugs they use have been shown to be safe and effective for their intended use. Sometimes, the results of rigorous testing can be disappointing", FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg told the Associated Press.