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Velcade launched in UK

Published on 24/05/04 at 12:47pm

Velcade, the first in a new class of cancer drugs has been launched in the UK as a third line treatment for multiple myeloma.

The drug was developed by US biotech Millennium but is being marketed in Europe by Ortho-Biotech, a division of Janssen-Cilag who have received marketing approval across Europe following a fast-track review.

The drug received a similar third-line approval in the US in May 2003 without comparative data, but a recently published US study showed the drug more effective than a current standard treatment with high dose dexamethasone.

Velcade (bortezomib) is the first in a new class called proteasome inhibitors, which kill cancer cells by blocking the action of enzymes which help regulate cell function and growth.

"Velcade brings renewed hope to the thousands of patients who suffer from this cruel and often under-recognised cancer," said Dr Cathy Williams , a consultant haematologist at Nottingham City and Lincoln Hospital.

"However, what makes Velcade a real breakthrough is the unique way in which it works and the further potential it may offer in other solid tumours."

There are 50 ongoing trials in Europe and the US investigating the potential of the drug in all stages of multiple myeloma and other cancers.


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