The number of last-stage cancer patients who received emergency treatments with Riavax (ingredient: tertomotide hydrochloride) significantly rose this year, government data showed Thursday. It the nation’s 21st novel drug by Gemvax & KAEL.
The government allows physicians to use an investigational drug, before the official market release, for patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses such as last-stage cancer or those who have no other treatment option.
If a doctor considers that a patient without any other treatment option needs to use a drug in a clinical trial, the doctor should submit the medical certificate, patient consent, and the letter of intent from the drugmaker to provide the experimental drug to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. After approval, the doctor can use the drug for the patient.
According to the ministry’s data, Riavax has been used in 157 cases from January to Sept. 10 this year, up from 57 cases from January to August last year.
One thing noticeable was that patients treated with Riavax had various types of cancer. Riavax obtained conditional approval for treating locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer patients with serum eotaxin concentration exceeding 81.02pg/ml.
In other words, the drugmaker is conducting a phase-3 study to obtain an indication for pancreatic cancer.
However, patients treated with Riavax had various cancer -- pancreatic cancer, sarcoma, stomach cancer, cholangiocarcinoma, ampulla of vater cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, kidney cancer, biliary cancer and lung cancer.
Out of 157 cases, 73 were pancreatic cancer and 35, breast cancer.
This means that Riavax could expand treatment targets, although its use is allowed only for emergency treatments in patients with other illnesses than pancreatic cancer.
The company is conducting clinical trials to win various indications such as Alzheimer's disease, prostatic hyperplasia, an anti-viral agent, and rheumatoid arthritis.
“We are trying to get feedback from patients who used the drug in emergencies. As the treatment was effective in various cancer, physicians seem to have used the drug more frequently, said an official at Gemvax & KAEL. “We will make good use of these cases so that Riavax can help many cancer patients.”