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Good results for Novartis cancer drug

A major Phase III clinical trail into new cancer drug, everolimus (RAD001), was halted by the presiding independent data monitoring committee.

A major Phase III clinical trail into new cancer drug, everolimus (RAD001), was halted by the presiding independent data monitoring committee.

Interim results showed that patients with kidney cancer who received the drug benefited from significantly better progression free survival than if they had been taking a placebo.

The committee stopped the study because it had met the conditions for its primary endpoint.

Everolimus was developed by pharma company Novartis as a once-daily oral therapy to treat cancer.

Daniel Vasella, chairman and CEO of Novartis, said: "Everolimus has the potential to greatly help patients with kidney cancer, especially in advanced stages, who up to now have had no treatment options, as patients in the clinical trail on everolimus experienced a significantly longer period of time during which their cancer did not progress."

"Everolimus is a targeted therapy which is being studied in multiple tumour types, and could provide significant benefit to patients suffering from cancer."

The drug provides a substantial reduction in the progression of kidney cancer by inhibiting the mTOR protein, a central regulator of tumour cell division and blood vessel growth in cancer cells.

David Epstein, president and CEO of Novartis Oncology, said: "This progression-free survival benefit demonstrates the possibilities of continuous mTOR inhibition as a promising target in oncology."

3rd March 2008

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