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Monday, June 03, 2013

Avastin Reducing Risk of "Disease Worsening"

Headline from Biospace:  Genentech (RHHBY)'s Avastin Fails Studies in New Brain Tumor Patients

That is discouraging but not surprising. Avastin is an anti-VEGF antibody. The blood-brain barrier is a mystery that has yet to be solved. What role does blood play in the brain? What about tumors in the brain? What happened to Avastin PKDM-wise? Did it go near the brain and the tumors? Did it enter the dying bodies and cause anything, good or bad, to happen?

You won't hear anything of value from the bullshitters of Genentech.

"We continue to be encouraged that people with newly diagnosed glioblastoma who received Avastin plus radiotherapy and temozolomide chemotherapy in the study experienced a significantly longer period of time without their cancer worsening," said Hal Barron M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. "While the study did not show a significant increase in overall survival, delaying disease progression is considered to be an important goal for people with this aggressive brain cancer who have very limited treatment options."

Having known a few people with relatives and friends who have died from this disease, I know that it is a one way ticket out of this world. I have to think about that statement, "delaying disease progression is considered to be an important goal for people...". People with this cancer die and there is nothing we have yet to do about that fact. We don't understand cancer so we throw the kitchen sink at these poor souls. Drug approval means a whole lot to Dr. Hal Barron and his employers but little to the people with brain cancer. In the future we will have plenty of new patients, but no benefit from Avastin. Why then is Dr. Hal Barron encouraged?

If it's true that a person will feel better longer then die quicker, I think that is a good drug. The question is how Avastin allegedly brought that to be. How do we know?  Take two patients with brain cancer. One begins his decline at month 6 and dies at day 365. The other begins his decline at month 11 and dies at day 365, you have got a good pill. But we don't really know that happened in this case. A previous trial led the drug company to release the statement that Avastin plus radiotherapy and tmozolomid chmotherapy significantly reduced the risk of glioblastoma worsening or death by 36 percent compared to radiotherapy, temozolomide and a placebo. How do we compare the conclusions of the two trials? No survival benefits versus previously announced 36% reduced risk of disease worsening. The real scientific question here is to get Genetech to explain what they mean by "disease worsening".

What is the science of measuring "Disease Worsening"? Is there an organization or group of scientists who measure these measurements?

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