(Reuters) – AstraZeneca Plc said on Friday its cancer drug Imfinzi had been approved in Europe and Britain for a spaced-out regimen in a common type of lung cancer to help reduce the frequency of hospital visits while continuing treatment.
The British drugmaker said that an additional dosing option of a 1,500 mg fixed dose, given every four weeks, was approved for use in adults with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), whose tumours cannot be surgically removed.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, many patients have avoided non-critical hospital visits and surgeries and switched to virtual consultations. However, administration of cancer treatment requires the supervision of medical professionals.
“Cancer won’t wait, and it is our job to provide patients with treatment options that address the challenges the pandemic poses to their care,” said Dave Fredrickson, executive vice- president of AstraZeneca’s oncology business unit.
The approval by the European Commission came after the European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee (CHMP) endorsed the drug. The CHMP endorsement also applies to the UK, AstraZeneca said.
It was followed by a U.S. go-ahead for the patients, who also have the PD-L1 protein that tumours use to evade the immune system and underwent chemo-radiation therapy to prevent the cancer from worsening.
More people die from lung cancer than any other cancers, and about 80% to 85% of patients with lung cancer have NSCLC, according to the World Health Organization.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Rashmi Aich)