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FDA Approves Novartis Drug Afinitor to Treat Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif., May 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Novartis drug Afinitor® (everolimus) for the treatment of advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.  Neuroendocrine tumors make up less than five percent of all pancreatic cancer diagnoses and are generally slower growing and less aggressive than the more common form of pancreatic cancer, pancreatic adenocarcinoma.


"The FDA approval of Afinitor to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors is welcome news for the pancreatic cancer community. For decades, treatment options for this insidious disease have been limited.  We are thrilled that patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors now have another option when planning their course of treatment," stated Julie Fleshman, President and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  

Afinitor® underwent rigorous clinical trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of the drug in this specific cancer type.  It was previously approved to treat other cancer types, but needed to prove effective in patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.  To this point, treatment options for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors have not been well-established.  Patients have historically been treated with surgery, chemotherapies, and/or radiation.  In contrast to these treatment modalities, Afinitor® is a targeted therapy designed to attack specific proteins that are necessary for the growth of cancer cells.

"The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network encourages all patients to consider clinical trials when exploring treatment options. Clinical trials are a vital part of the research process and development of effective treatment options that will increase the survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients," added Fleshman.

To learn more about pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, visit

About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the national organization creating hope in a comprehensive way through research, patient support, community outreach and advocacy for a cure. The organization is leading the way to increase the survival rate for people diagnosed with this devastating disease through a bold initiative—The Vision of Progress: Double the Pancreatic Cancer Survival Rate by 2020. Together, we can know, fight and end pancreatic cancer by intensifying our efforts to heighten awareness, raise funds for comprehensive private research, and advocate for dedicated federal research to advance early diagnostics, better treatments and increase chances of survival.

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Julie Fleshman

SOURCE Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
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