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Cancer Drug Opdivo Found Effective for Gastric Cancer

By September 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm
Opdivo(Photo : Ono Pharmaceutical)

The revolutionary cancer drug Opdivo is now proven effective for gastric (stomach) cancer and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare will shortly approve it as such, it was bared September 8.

Opdivo is a new type of cancer drug developed by Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and introduced three years ago (re. ZaikeiNews http://www.zaikeinews.com/search?q=Optivo) and now used to treat five different cancers including liver and kidney.

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The ministry's expert meeting concluded on September 9 Opdivo's efficacy also on gastric cancer.

According to the National Cancer Center, cancer patients in Japan aggregate roughly 130 thousand eight now and Opdivo is made available to those who have been hitherto treated with two or more cancer drugs.

Opdivo is highly effective on cancers but prohibitively expensive - so much so that the government revolved to halve its cost. Yet, Opdivo still costs a patient weighing 50 kilograms roughly14 million yen a year. 

The ministry is working out a guideline within a month to have Opdivo officially approved as a drug for the treatment of gastric cancer.

A study has it that Opdivo, or nivolumab, has shown better long-term survival rates than expected for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Some 16% of patients survived after 5 years - that is about 4 times what is expected for patients on chemotherapy.

Statistics show that some 132 thousand contract gastric cancer every year and not every patient can use Opdivo. The drug is prescribed only to those who have tried two chemical treatments in vain and are no longer operable. Ono Pharmaceutical Co. expects the number of eligible patients to be approximately 4600 per year.

Opdivo. Dramatic as it might be, the dream drug can deliver dreams only if dreamable. (Nathan Shiga) 

Source: NHK Mainichi Shimbun

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