Major Pharmaceutical Company Roche launched its anti-cancer drug `Tarceva' (erlotinib), which `prolongs and improves' quality of life of patients, suffering from lung cancer.
The Managing Director Dr G L Telang said, it was an oral tablet taken once a day and has the potential to treat many types of solid tumours therapy for patients with locally advanced or metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) even after failure of at least one prior chemotherapy regiment.
Dr. Telang also said that, the drug has demonstrated a striking survival benefit (42.5 per cent) in advanced non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease and it has also shown to significantly improve patients' quality of life by reducing the severe and debilitating symptoms that characterise advanced disease, such as cough, pain and breathlessness.
Tarceva works differently to chemotherapy by specifically targeting tumour cells and inhibiting their growth. The drug blocks the tumour cell growth. It acts by inhibiting the activity of a specific enzyme, tyrosine kinase, which is part of the human epidermal growth receptor (EGFR).
Regarding the registration of the drug in the country, they have applied to the government for registration and expect it to come through by the end of this year, he said. Dr.Telang said that the drug will be sold 40 per cent below the international cost and if the government removes the duty on the drug, then the price will be further reduced. He also stated by using the drug, the life of the patient would extends up to a year.
Dr.Telang said, that they were also focusing on trials on earlier stages of NSCLC and in combination with another anti-cancer drug of Roche 'avastin. Trials are also being conducted with Tarceva in other solid tumours like ovarian, bronchioloalveolar and colorectal, head, neck and brain.