Patients with advanced kidney cancer now have a new treatment option. Recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the new drug, called axitinib (brand name Inlyta®), is an oral medication that works by blocking certain proteins that play a role in the growth and progression of tumors. Its approval was based, in part, on research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“This important advance provides a viable treatment option for patients who progress on, or cannot tolerate, the side effects of other approved drugs for the disease,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering medical oncologist Robert J. Motzer. Dr. Motzer’s work led to the development of axitinib as well as other targeted drugs that interfere with molecular factors important to kidney cancer growth.
Since 2005, research at Memorial Sloan Kettering and elsewhere has resulted in FDA approval of several drugs for patients with advanced kidney cancer, including sunitinib (Sutent®), temsirolimus (Torisel™), everolimus (Afinitor®), sorafenib (Nexavar®), and the combination of interferon with bevacizumab (Avastin®).
“We are currently working to improve on the efficacy of these drugs and studying newer agents that hold promise,” adds Dr. Motzer.