Kidney Cancer Developments

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), has approved everolimus (brand name Afinitor, manufactured by Novartis) for routine use as a regular National Health Service (NHS) treatment option for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). NICE provides evidence-based guidelines on health care for the NHS and other medical organizations in England.

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Previously, the drug was available only to NHS patients if they applied through the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF). However, NICE reappraised the drug and assessed the cost and clinical effectiveness. As part of the reappraisal, Novartis Pharmaceuticals submitted a further discount to the cost of everolimus.

NICE originally published guidance not recommending everolimus as a standard NHS offering in April 2011, because it was deemed not to have sufficient benefits to justify its cost. It was then made available through the Cancer Drugs Fund.

A different fate met rocapuldencel-T, which was in a Phase 3 trial as a personalized cancer vaccine for metastatic renal cell carcinoma, wrote SeekingAlpha.com, an investment news website. Argos Therapeutics, based in Durham, NC, progressed in its new drug development to the Phase 3 ADAPT Trial, but was unable to show significant benefit in patient survival for its drug. An Independent Data Monitoring Committee reviewed data from earlier trials that showed the drug warranted moving to a Phase 3 trial.

After the trial results emerged, Argos announced it would cut more than a third of its employees, the Durham Herald-Sun wrote.