New drug is launched for bowel cancer

A NEW drug that can extend the lives of patients with advanced bowel cancer was launched in the UK today.

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 per cent to 22 per cent.

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

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

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