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New cancer therapy available in T&T

Sunday, April 13, 2014
Discussing the merits of the new cancer therapy, from left, Rishi Maharaj, Janssen Caribbean area manager; Joan Craig, Janssen country manager South Caribbean; Dr Krishan Ramsoobhag, Urologist and Oncologist; and Dr David Muschett, oncology medical manager from Janssen. PRNewsFoto/Janssen

The Chemistry, Food and Drugs Division of the Ministry of Health approved the introduction of Abiraterone Acetate to the country, the first orally administered medication for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Clinical trials have demonstrated that this new therapeutic resource for the standard therapy of patients with hormone-resistant tumors reduces the risk of death by approximately 35 per cent. Abiraterone Acetate is available in T&T under the trademark Zytiga™. 


According to the National Cancer Registry, prostate cancer leads cancer statistics in the T&T population with 22 per cent of all cases. Among males, prostate cancer accounted for 42 per cent of all new cases of cancer. Worldwide, prostate cancer is the second type of cancer most frequently diagnosed in men, and the fifth type overall. Near 1.1 million new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2012, and more than 300,000 men died because of the disease. 


This type of cancer is the result of the malignant transformation of certain cells of the prostate, a gland located underneath the urinary bladder in men, one of the functions of which is to produce a part of the seminal fluid. Although a slowly developing disease, some prostate tumours may be very aggressive and extend quickly to invade other organs. 



Abiraterone Acetate is administered orally as a single daily dose, which prevents androgens from being produced at their three sources: Testes, adrenal glands, and the tumour itself, through the strong block of the CYP 17 enzyme. Androgens are hormones that promote male development and sexual features, and prostate cancer cells have been shown to need them to grow. 


“Abiraterone Acetate is an androgen synthesis inhibitor (testosterone) treatment that reduces the risk of death by approximately 35 per cent of patients already treated with hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Approximately 20 per cent of all patients with prostate cancer progress to a severe stage of the disease and could now benefit from this new therapeutic alternative,” said Dr Carmen Martinez, medical director of Janssen for Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean. 


One of the most salient aspects of Abiraterone Acetate that distinguishes it from other oncologic treatments is that it possesses a novel mechanism of action, with a benefit as to the overall survival rate, and a tolerable toxicity profile.


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