29/12/2011 15:38 GMT | Updated 29/12/2011 17:05 GMT

Avastin Drug Slows Ovarian Cancer Growth By Six Months, Study Finds

Scientists have trialed a drug that can potentially slow down the progression of ovarian cancer down by up to six months.

Trial leader Dr Amit Oza, from Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, said, "This is the first new drug in ovarian cancer in 15 years to improve outcome and I believe it should be considered as a potential new standard of care," according to the Press Association.

The first trial on over 1,500 women found the drug acted as a better preventative than chemotherapy and delayed the cancer spreading by an average of two months – up to six months in those suffering from the aggressive form of ovarian cancer.

The results from the trial, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, followed the women as they were randomly given chemotherapy or a combination of standard chemo and Avastin following surgery to remove the cancer tumour.

After 28 months of follow-up with the patients, the researchers noted the difference in the delay of the disease between moderate and severe ovarian cancer cases.

A second study, involving 1,873 patients with previously untreated advanced ovarian cancer from 336 sites, mainly in the US. Patients were either given chemotherapy on its own or with the addition of Avastin, with some having an extra course of Avastin.

For women given two Avastin treatments, disease progression was delayed by around four months compared with those only receiving standard chemotherapy.

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