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Advagraf shows survival increase for liver transplant patients

Astellas drug shows significant improvement in study published in the AJT

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Sustained use of Astellas' immunosuppressant Advagraf offers a significant survival benefit in liver transplant patients, claims a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation (AJT).

The study, which comes from the European Liver Transplant Registry (ELTR), found that early use of Advagraf (tacrolimus extended release capsules), a new once-daily formulation of Astellas' immunosuppressant, offers a survival benefit of 8% at three years in liver transplant patients.

This is compared to the current twice-daily use of the drug, the standard of care for the prevention of organ rejection in liver transplantation

The Japanese firm hopes its new version will be more attractive to doctors and patients, as the drug is more effective while requiring fewer treatment courses, and at an earlier stage in the treatment pathway.  

The drug is already approved in Europe and the US for certain organ rejection licences - it is approved by the FDA under the brand name Astagraf.

Dr Varuna Aluvihare, consultant hepatologist at King's College, London, commented: “A graft survival benefit means better patient survival, meaning that for every 13 patients treated with Advagraf, we could potentially save one life when compared to people being treated with the usual twice-daily [Advagraf].

“Whilst we do not know the underlying reason for this benefit, it is exciting to speculate that this may be due to some benefits inherent in this formulation of tacrolimus, as well as the undoubted fact that patients find it easier to take.”

The mortality rate for liver disease has been increasing over the past few decades and more than 500 patients are on the UK's active liver transplant list, a 12% increase since 2013.  

Dr Alan McDougall, medical director at Astellas, said: “Astellas is dedicated to delivering innovative and high quality treatments to patients. These real-world data suggest that the once daily formulation of Advagraf, when compared to twice-daily immediate release tacrolimus, has the potential to benefit hundreds of liver transplant patients in the UK.”

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

20th February 2015

From: Research



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