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New bowel cancer drug launched

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A new drug that can extend the lives of patients with advanced bowel cancer has been launched in the UK

Aflibercept, marketed as Zaltrap, is given in addition to conventional chemotherapy.

In a recent large-scale trial it was found to almost double the proportion of patients surviving as long as 30 months from 12% to 22%.

The drug starves the cancer of oxygen and nutrients by blocking the growth of new blood vessels in and around tumours.

Without an adequate blood supply, tumour growth and spread is halted or slowed.

Advanced bowel cancer, or metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), is difficult to treat and currently there are few options available for patients.

Cancer specialist Dr Rob Glynne-Jones, from East and North Hertfordshire Trust, said: “Zaltrap is a novel agent which has produced results that extend life in the later stages of colorectal cancer and has the potential to significantly impact mCRC survival rates in the future.”

Mark Flannagan, from the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, said: “This is excellent news for bowel cancer patients.”

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