The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted a priority review for atezolizumab, a drug developed by Roche Holding AG (OTCMKTS: RHHBY), for people with locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, who are affected by programmed death 1 (PD-1) which plays a relevant role in suppressing the immune system.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Atezolizumab seeks to help people whose cancer expresses PD-1, an immune inhibitory receptor that acts on immune cells and cytotoxic T cells, explains Cancer Network.
It is also directed to people who show progress when receiving standard treatments like platinum-based chemotherapy and targeted therapy, explained Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in a press release issued Sunday.
Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development at Roche said that researchers could effectively find a relation between the expression of PD-1 and atezolizumab.
“In a study of atezolizumab in people with previously treated advanced lung cancer, PD-L1 expression correlated with how well they responded to the medicine. The goal of PD-L1 as a biomarker is to identify people most likely to benefit from atezolizumab alone.” She added in a statement.
Lung cancer in the United States
The American Cancer Society calculates that more than 224,000 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer just in 2016, being the leading cause of cancer death in the country and the second most common type of cancer among men and women.
According to the CDC, 210,828 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012, of which 157,423 died. Genentech explains that 85 percent of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer, which is the main target of atezolizumab.
The National Cancer institute explains that current treatments do not cure the cancer of most patients with non-small cell lung cancer while 60 percent of lung cancer diagnostics in the country are made in advanced states of the disease.
Atezolizumab aims to connect to the Programmed death 1, that is expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, to stop its interactions with other receptors, as explained by Genentech on Sunday.
Source: Genentech Press Release