Reuters reports that a new leukemia drug produced by Pfizer Inc. was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday. The pill was designed to treat patients with Philadelophia mutation, which is responsible for the abnormal production of white cells.
Pfizer Inc. was mainly interested in the past years to expand its business by introducing oncology-related pills. On Tuesday, a new drug for the treatment of a rare type of leukemia was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The medicine is called Bosulif and will be administered to patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, a blood and bone marrow disease usually identified in adults.
Recent studies have shown that chronic myelogenous leukemia is determined by the presence of a genetic mutation in the Philadelophia chromosome. This mutation was identified by scientists as responsible for the unusual growth of white blood cells. Bosulif is said to significantly improve the patients’ condition by preventing enzymes to transmit signals that cause the white blood cells levels to increase.
Dr. Richard Pazdur, head of the FDA’s cancer drugs center told the press that Bosulif could be a real blessing for people suffering from this rare form of leukemia. He explained that the new pill could turn much more effective than the others because it was produced after a better understanding of the molecular basis of the disease.
The market already holds several other medicines for chronic myelogenous leukemia, such as, Novartis AG’s Gleevec, but some people can’t tolerate them. In addition, older treatments may become ineffective after they have been used for a longer period of time; therefore, FDA thinks the new drug, Bosulif, could do a better job.
The Food and Drug Administration assigned an orphan status to Bosulif because it is meant to treat a condition that affects a small percentage of the population. Less than 200,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia, but Pfizer is determined to produce many more cancer treatments in the future.