Theresa Catharina de Góes Campos

  De: PR Newswire Brasil

Assunto: 90% of Cancer Patients Completely Unaware of New Breakthrough Cancer Therapy Which Medical Experts Believe Could Reduce Cancer to a Chronic Disease
27 de março de 2006 10:22 HORALOCAL

90% of Cancer Patients Completely Unaware of New Breakthrough
Cancer Therapy Which Medical Experts Believe Could Reduce Cancer to a
Chronic Disease

Knowledge Gap of Concern to Both Physicians and Patient Groups

ZURICH, Switzerland, March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Nine out of ten
patients battling cancer in Europe have never heard of a major
breakthrough in cancer treatment, known as anti-angiogenesis,
according to a new survey released today. Yet, 70% of cancer
specialists who took part in the survey believe that patients and
their carers should know more about anti-angiogenic treatment as it
marks the dawn of a new era in cancer treatment. In fact, half of the
cancer specialists surveyed even believed that the use of
anti-angiogenic therapy could lead to cancer becoming a treatable
illness people can live with, not the death sentence it so often is.
Anti-angiogenic therapy is a novel new therapy that works by starving
the tumour of its blood supply to stop its growth. The first
anti-angiogenic therapy, Avastin(R) (bevacizumab), was launched a
year ago for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer, and is the
only anti-angiogenic agent that has consistently demonstrated
survival benefit in the three most common tumour types: colorectal
cancer, breast cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Professor Nick Thatcher, Professor of Oncology, University of
Manchester, Christie Hospital, UK, said: "We are entering a new era
in the treatment of cancer with the advent of innovative new cancer
therapies and it's important that patients and their medical advisors
understand the potential of these new treatments to extend life."
The survey was conducted amongst 500 cancer specialists and patients
in the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. It revealed that patient
awareness of new cancer treatments is low: 40 percent admitted to
feeling completely uninformed about advances in technology which
might help them overcome their disease. This knowledge gap is
concerning to both patient groups and physicians, who feel it is
important that cancer patients are up-to-date on the latest
technologies that may help them in their fight against the disease.
Dr. Jesme Baird, director of patient care at The Roy Castle Lung
Foundation, part of the Global Lung Cancer Coalition, commented:
"Statistics like these expose a major information gap between cancer
patients and physicians regarding new advances in treatment, yet we
know that people fighting cancer go through so much emotionally that
they need to be able to believe in the future. The dialogue between
patient and physician is critical in order to make an informed

Access: Call for better care
The survey also showed that a majority of cancer specialists believe
that access to new cancer therapies should be widened, particularly
in light of physician and patient dissatisfaction with traditional
chemotherapy agents.
"It is essential that we work with health authorities and regulators
to ensure better access to these innovative new treatments," says Dr.
Jesme Baird. "Cancer patients depend so much upon the development of
new technology to offer hope of a better future, and we want them to
live long enough to enjoy it. That means that new treatments must be
made available to those who need it."
A recent report published by the Karolinska Institutet, in
conjunction with the Stockholm School of Economics, exposed stark
inequalities in patient access to cancer treatment across Europe.
This research, titled "A pan-European comparison regarding patient
access to cancer drugs," found that despite the proven benefits of
new innovative treatments options, the speed at which patients can
benefit from them depends to a great extent upon the country in which
they live. The attitudinal findings in this survey support the
Karolinska report results, further highlighting the physician and
patient call to action to amend access guidelines.

Notes to Editors:
Survey highlights

-- The survey questioned 500 cancer specialists and patients across
the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Germany and was sponsored by Roche,

-- Information about treatment

-- Two out of five cancer patients were not even sure what treatment
they were currently receiving;

-- A third of patients said they would not actively seek additional
treatment information following diagnosis.

-- Expectations from treatment in general and anti-angiogenic
therapy specifically

-- 70 percent of physicians are dissatisfied with traditional
chemotherapy drugs;

-- A majority of patients surveyed wished that their current
treatment regimen helped them live longer without compromising their
quality of life to as great a degree;

-- Only 11 percent of patients felt confident that their treatment
would enable them to overcome their disease when they were first
diagnosed; yet 100 percent of patients with advanced cancer being
treated with anti-angiogenic therapy are optimistic about its
potential benefits;

-- 60 percent of patients expected advances in treatment to
transform cancer from an acute to a chronic condition within the next
three to five years;

-- A large proportion of physicians surveyed believed that the
widespread use of anti-angiogenesis therapy would result in cancer
becoming a chronic condition -- with which the patient could live;

-- A vast majority of physician respondents -- 82 percent -- firmly
believed anti-angiogenic therapy could be effective in the adjuvant
setting, in other words after surgery to enhance the benefits of
chemotherapy. However, realising this expectation was likely to
depend upon patient access to new therapies.

About Avastin
Avastin is the first treatment that inhibits angiogenesis -- the
growth of a network of blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen
to cancerous tissues. Avastin targets a naturally occurring protein
called VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor), a key mediator of
angiogenesis, thus choking off the blood supply that is essential for
the growth of the tumour and its spread throughout the body
In Europe, Avastin is approved for first-line treatment of patients
with metastatic carcinoma of the colon or rectum in combination with
the chemotherapy regimens of intravenous 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid
or intravenous 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid/irinotecan. Avastin
received fast-track approval by the US Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) and was launched in the US in February 2004.
In the pivotal Phase III study, the addition of Avastin to
chemotherapy (irinotecan/5-fluorouracil/leucovorin) significantly
extended survival by, on average, five months (20.3 months versus
15.6 months) for people with previously untreated metastatic
colorectal cancer. Avastin also significantly increased the amount of
time the cancer was not growing compared with patients receiving
chemotherapy alone (10.6 months vs. 6.2 months). In a second Phase
III study, conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG),
Avastin was also shown to significantly improve survival when added
to another widely prescribed chemotherapy regimen
(oxaliplatin/5-fluorouracil/leucovorin). With Avastin, people who had
previously failed one chemotherapy regimen for their advanced
disease, lived nearly two months longer, on average, compared to those
who received chemotherapy alone (12.5 months vs. 10.7 months).
People with very advanced colorectal cancer who are too ill to
tolerate traditional aggressive chemotherapy also benefit from
Avastin. The addition of Avastin to a less aggressive form of
chemotherapy increased the length of time the cancer was not growing,
by four months, compared to chemotherapy alone (a 67 percent increase
in progression-free survival).
Roche and Genentech are pursuing a comprehensive clinical programme
investigating the use of Avastin in advanced colorectal cancer with
other chemotherapies and also expanding into the adjuvant setting
(post operation). As its mechanism is highly relevant in a number of
malignant tumours, Roche and Genentech are also investigating the
potential clinical benefit of Avastin in breast, lung, pancreatic
cancer, ovarian cancer, renal cell carcinoma and others.
Approximately 15,000 patients are expected to be enrolled into
clinical trials over the next years worldwide.

About Roche
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's
leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of
pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products
and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and
treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of
fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is a
world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for
cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. In 2005
sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 27.3 billion Swiss
francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.2 billion
Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 70,000 people in 150 countries and
has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners,
including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai.
Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the
Internet (

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are legally

CONTACT: Christine Hill of Roche, Tel: +41-61-688-89-95, Mobile:
+41-79-788-82-45; or Ann Blumenstock of Resolute Communications, Tel:

+44-20-7397-7484, Mobile: +44-7788-543537, for Roche
Web site:


TELS: USA:1-305-507-2550/BRASIL:55-21-2132-8461
FAXES: USA:1-305-461-8670/BRASIL:55-21-2132-8469


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