Avastin®, bevacizumab, a monoclonal antibody

I’ve been doing homework on my new therapy drug: Avastin®, or bevacizumab, which was originally used for colorectal and small cell lung cancers. In 2008 it was approved for treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Unlike chemo drugs that target the cellular growth process, bevacizumab blocks VEGF, vascular endothelial growth factor, which stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. In addition to cancer’s common trait of uncontrolled cell growth, cancer tumors also commonly have accelerated growth of blood vessels. This drug decreases a cancer tumor’s rapid growth of blood vessels by targeting VEGF.

For treating metastatic breast cancer bevacizumab is combined with paclitaxel (Taxol®).  Bevacizumab was the first anti-angiogenesis drugs approved for treating cancer.

The main job of bevacizumab is to halt the progression of the cancer. Some literature mentions that the studies have shown it to help halt the tumor growth but not to extend survival. Also, because of this and its cost, bevacizumab is not approved for use in the UK or Canada.

It is usually prescribed until the disease begins progressing or the effects of toxicity become unacceptable.

I really do hate this stupid cancer.

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