The drug Cetuximab landed Martha Stewart in the middle of an insider-trading scandal back in December of 2001. Inside information stated that the FDA had turned down the application for this drug in December. However, now there is good news for patients.
The FDA has recently approved the drug, also known as Erbitux. The medication offers treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who are not tolerating chemotherapy with irinotecan. The most innovative feature of Erbitux is the fact, that it is the first-of-its-kind antibody that inhibits a specific protein, which in turn stops cell division of cancer cells. Clinical trials that were done in Europe consisted of testing stage III colorectal cancer patients with irinotecan (chemotherapeutic agent) alone or in combination with Cetuximab (equivalent of Erbitux). The survival advantage was almost 9 months better in the combination group. Cetuximab alone also had a certain effect, but was not as good as the combination therapy. In the next few years more of these new antibody therapies will be tested in clinical trials to check out the safety and the effectiveness in various cancer types.
More info on colon cancer treatment: http://nethealthbook.com/cancer-overview/colon-cancer/colon-cancer-treatment/
Based on a paper by Harris M – Lancet Oncol – 01-MAY-2004; 5(5): 292-302: “Monoclonal antibodies as therapeutic agents for cancer”.
Last edited October 26, 2014