Zytiga: New Prostate Cancer Pill Becomes Available In UK
PRESS ASSOCIATION -- A life-prolonging prostate cancer pill has been officially launched in the UK but has yet to be made widely available to NHS patients.
Abiraterone acetate, marketed under the trade name Zytiga, has been shown to extend the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer.
It received a European Union licence two weeks ago, making it a legal medicine in the UK, but in practice it has only just become accessible to patients.
The drug works by blocking the generation of testosterone in all tissues, including cancer tumours. The male sex hormone fuels the growth and spread of prostate cancer.
A Phase III trial of 2,000 men with advanced disease showed that patients given the one-a-day pill lived 15.8 months on average compared with 11.2 months for those taking a placebo "dummy" drug.
Abiraterone was developed by British researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and the Royal Marsden Hospital.
Professor Alan Ashworth, chief executive of the ICR in London, said: "This drug will make a significant impact on the treatment of men suffering advanced prostate cancer.
"Abiraterone acetate gives doctors another important treatment option and we hope that it will play a part in one day turning prostate cancer into a chronic, rather than life-threatening, disease."
Professor Johan de Bono, from the ICR, who co-led the Phase III trial, said: "There are only a small handful of drugs available that can extend life for men with advanced prostate cancer.
"Clinical trials have proven that abiraterone acetate can not only prolong life, but in some men it can improve their quality of life. This offers hope to the thousands of men each year whose cancer stops responding to standard hormone treatments and chemotherapy."