New liver cancer drug gets FDA approval

New liver cancer drug gets FDA approval
Highlights

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration today approved a new drug to treat people with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer. The drug, regorafenib, is the first and only therapy approved by the FDA in over a decade to show significant improvement in survival for patients with the disease after standard treatments have failed.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration today approved a new drug to treat people with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer. The drug, regorafenib, is the first and only therapy approved by the FDA in over a decade to show significant improvement in survival for patients with the disease after standard treatments have failed.

The research that led to the approval was conducted at UCLA and 21 other sites in the U.S., Europe and Asia. UCLA was the leader of the U.S. arm of the international collaboration, and the clinical studies were led by Dr. Richard Finn, an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Director of the Signal Transduction and Therapeutics Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. "When liver cancer progresses to advanced stages, a cure is no longer possible," Finn said.

"Traditional treatments can help slow and control the disease for a short period of time, but eventually tumor growth will continue. Today’s approval of regorafenib is a major clinical advancement for patients when initial therapies are no longer working."

In the early and intermediate stages of the disease, doctors can treat patients only in the affected area of the liver with surgery, transplantation or traditional drug treatments such as chemotherapy. However, as the cancer progresses and localized treatments do not work, some people may be candidates for systemic therapies, Finn said.

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