Anemia drugs under scrutiny

Mar 13, 2008

U.S. drug regulators are contemplating further restrictions on the use of drugs to combat anemia in cancer patients.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is to meet Thursday to consider eliminating the use of Amgen's drugs Epogen and Aranesp, and the Johnson & Johnson drug Procrit for cancer patients with certain types of tumors or eliminating the use among all cancer patients, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper said eight clinical trials have suggested the drugs might make tumors worse or shorten the life of cancer patients. One FDA adviser last year called the drugs "Miracle-Gro for cancer."

Researchers said the anemia drugs are synthetic forms of a human hormone called erythropoietin, or Epo, that is involved in the production of red blood cells. Epo may encourage the growth of blood vessels that nourish tumors or may actually stimulate tumors directly, scientists said. Another theory is that Epo protects tumors from being destroyed by chemotherapy.

Amgen said it has not seen any convincing evidence Epo does anything but spur red blood cell production, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: National study finds life-threatening barriers in access to breakthrough drugs

Related Stories

Drug for anemic cancer patients raises risk of death

Feb 26, 2008

Millions of cancer patients take drugs to boost their red blood cells and health when they become anemic after chemotherapy. But a new study by Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine shows these drugs, called ...

Recommended for you

FDA reviewing safety of Essure birth control implant

Jun 25, 2015

Federal health regulators are reviewing the safety of an implantable contraception device after receiving reports of unusual side effects from patients, including fatigue, depression and weight gain.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.