Finding new cancer treatments is always seen as an important task for science, and this isn’t surprising given the large number of people that succumb to the disease. Figures from 2020, show that there were more than 1.8 million new cases of cancer diagnosed, with just over 600,000 people dying. In the continual battle with the disease, there are gradual improvements in the treatment of cancers. We look at new cancer medications 2021, providing hope to many sufferers.
Before new drugs can start helping people, they need to win approval from the FDA. This ensures that they will do what they say they do and not cause more harm.
To make this possible the FDA has a department called the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, or the CDER, that supports the pharmaceutical companies during their process of creating new medical advances. This organization helps pharmaceutical companies with their wealth of understanding in the sciences, testing, and manufacturing procedures to bring new drug therapies to the market.
The CDER supports innovation to ensure new treatment options are available to physicians that will better serve American patients. Every year the CDER helps pharmaceutical companies create and get approved new products. Let’s look at the cancer medications 2021 approvals.
Cancer Medications 2021 FDA Approvals
Used to treat non-small cell lung cancers, Tepmetko was approved by the FDA in February. This is a targeted treatment for often aggressive lung cancer and was approved following a phase II clinical study.
Also approved in February, Ukoniq is used for the treatment of marginal zone lymphomas as well as follicular lymphomas. This treatment is for adults who have relapsed following at least one previous treatment for a marginal zone lymphoma, or 3 treatments with follicular lymphomas.
While not a drug to directly treat small cell lung cancer, this medication is used to protect bone marrow function during courses of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cause the suppression of bone marrow, which is a common and harmful side effect of the treatment. Damage to the bone marrow can create fatigue in the patient as well as an increased risk of infection, including pneumonia, and bleeding.
Pepaxto received accelerated approval from the FDA, to treat multiple myeloma. This is a type of cancer that forms in certain white blood cells. These white blood cells or plasma cells create antibodies to help you fight infections and recognize when your body is under attack from germs.
However, this drug has recently run into problems with the discovery of an increased risk of death in participants in phase III studies. Oncologists are looking for ways to mitigate this risk until the FDA gives their assessment.
Fotivda is a newly approved prescription medication to treat advanced kidney cancer. This is claimed to be the first drug to treat relapsed sufferers of renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer.
Accelerated approval has been granted for Jemperli by the FDA. This is used for the treatment of mismatch repair deficient recurrent as well as advanced endometrial cancer. Approval was granted following the drug demonstrating a good and long-lasting response rate to tumors.
Zynlonta has also won accelerated approval for the treatment of relapsed or refractory large b-cell lymphomas. This treatment can sometimes be used in more difficult to treat cases, like those of patients ineligible for transplants or who have previously been treated with stem cell therapies.
Rybrevant has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancers. This drug deals with specific tumors which have genetic mutations to the epidermal growth factor receptor. This is one of many new drugs that will allow for more targeted therapies for lung cancer.
While not a drug to treat cancer specifically, Pylarify is used to diagnosis metastasis or a return of prostate cancer in patients. It is a prostate-specific imaging agent, which binds to its target cells so that a PET scan can uncover and locate the location of the disease. This should allow doctors to optimize treatments to avoid unnecessary surgeries on patients.
Another treatment on our list of new drugs for non-small cell lung cancers is Lumakras. This drug is specifically to treat genetic mutations called KRAS G12C and is only for patients who have received one previous systemic therapy.
This type of genetic mutation had previously been thought of as resistant to drug treatment, so this new drug meets the demand for a previously unserved oncological condition.
Truseltiq is used in the treatment of cancer that forms in bile ducts that connect your liver to your gallbladder as well as your small intestine. It is used in the treatment of certain advanced stage cholangiocarcinomas for which treatment options might otherwise be very limited. Prognosis with this type of cancer isn’t great, with less than 25% of patients surviving 5 years even in the best-case scenario.
Some children who develop the most common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, suffer an adverse reaction to treatment. Patients can develop an allergic reaction or other immune problems when being treated with the chemotherapy drug pegaspargase.
If an allergic reaction does take place with his drug there is an alternative, unfortunately, there have been problems with the manufacture leading to worldwide shortages of the drug. This has been a horrifying situation for parents of children in need of this drug and puts the patient at greater risk of cancer returning when they do not receive their full course of chemotherapy.
Rylaze is another alternative that is similar but is manufactured in a different way. This should prevent these drug shortages from happening again in the future.
Welireg has recently been approved for treating von Hippel Lindau disease, which is a hereditary disease caused by a mutated gene. This can cause tumors to grow in the kidneys, pancreas, and central nervous system. Welireg has been approved for treating tumors in all of these organs, despite predictions that it would only win approval for kidney tumors, also known as renal cell carcinomas.
The treatment was successful with an overall response rate of 49%, and 56% of patients saw positive results for more than a year. It was, however, only based on a fairly small clinical trial of 61 participants.
These are all of the cancer medications 2021 approvals from the FDA so far this year. Though it should be noted that since that these treatments are very new, there can be problems along the way.
Accelerated FDA Approvals
Many of these treatments have been approved through an accelerated program with more limited clinical trials than you would normally expect. This is not surprising, given the difficult situation the pandemic has provided, meaning clinical trials have also been affected as every area of our lives has.
Despite this, treatments still need to be developed, but with less clinical trial testing, there are greater risks with these medications. Some of these drugs have been approved after only going through phase II clinical trials, but there are clearly many good reasons to accelerate these approvals, so these beneficial treatments are available to patients.
As with the drug Pepaxto mentioned above, there are significant risks that could see these drugs withdrawn or have further restrictions placed on them.
A lot of these new oncology drugs do provide new treatment options for patients suffering from tumors that are otherwise underserved by medications. Though with any new drugs you can expect the initial price to be very high so that the pharmaceutical company can begin to make back its research and development costs.
Finding Cheaper Cancer Treatments
With the cost of medical treatment seemingly always on the rise, if you face a cancer diagnosis you could face high copays. Without having sufficient health insurance to cover the costs, you could face a difficult financial choice.
This is true of any disease, unfortunately, in the United States. However, there are ways in which you can save a lot on your treatment costs. A search online for your prescribed medications could see you make a huge saving on otherwise crippling medical costs.
Unfortunately, there are many pharmacies out there that do not have your best interests at heart. They could be selling drugs that aren’t fit to treat your condition containing incorrect ingredients. And though the pills might look correct, there really is no way to ensure that they contain the ingredients you expect.
There are a lot of low-quality medications on sale, and if you get unlucky and buy some of these, you could find you are actually making your health condition worse.
It is possible to avoid a lot of these problems, however, if you make the right choice when searching for online pharmacies. Though once again, like the medications, it can be difficult to tell if the pharmacy you are looking to use is reputable or not.
While some pharmacies might be fairly obviously a scam, with many others it can be almost impossible to tell the difference. This is where you will be better off checking what other people think that understand what to look for.