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Cyramza offers new treatment for stomach cancer

Cancerous stomach ulcer.
Cancerous stomach ulcer.
Wikimedia Commons Photograph by Ed Uthman, MD. released into Public domain

“Although the rates of stomach cancer in the United States have decreased over the past 40 years, patients require new treatment options, particularly when they no longer respond to other therapies,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. As a result, the FDA has approved Cyramza (ramucirumab) as a new treatment option after finding that it successfully slowed tumor growth by blockings their blood supply, thus extending patients’ lives.

The drug, however is only intended for patients whose cancer cannot be surgically removed or has metasticized after being treated with a fluoropyrimidine, or platinum-containing therapy. The most common side effects experienced during clinical trials were diarrhea and high blood pressure.

Stomach cancer generally develops in the tissues lining the stomach. The primary cause of lower stomach cancer by Helicobacter pylori bacteria infection, while cancer in the upper stomach is often caused by acid reflux. Although the disease mostly affects older adults (over the age of 65), there has been an increase in the number of young white adults aged 25-39 diagnosed with the stomach and esophogeal cancer according to Dr. Charles Rabkin, a senior investigator at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. In fact, the NIH now estimates that 22,220 people in the US will be diagnosed with stomach cancer and 10,990 will die from the disease, this year. Up to now, it has also been more prevalent throughout the country among African Americans, Asians and Hispanics