FDA OKs Pfizer drug for rare, fast-killing type of leukemia - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FDA OKs Pfizer drug for rare, fast-killing type of leukemia

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new medicine for use against a rare, rapidly progressing blood cancer after other treatments have failed.

Pfizer's Besponsa was approved for patients with a type of advanced acute lymphoblastic leukemia. By then, life expectancy is low.

Dr. Richard Pazdur, the FDA's director for cancer drugs, said the drug's approval provides a targeted option for patients with few available treatments.

This year an estimated 5,970 Americans will be diagnosed and 1,440 will die from the cancer.

The drug will cost $168,300 without insurance for a nine-week treatment course.

In testing that included 218 patients, 36 percent given Besponsa had their cancer vanish for eight months on average; 17 percent of those given chemotherapy had remission for a median five months.

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