Bristol-Myers Squibb said its Opdivo (nivolumab) treatment recently became the first to obtain U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for certain types of cancer patients whose illness proved unresponsive to prior regimens.
The injection treatment was demonstrated to improve outcomes for individuals with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, who were previously treated with sorafenib, a Bristol-Myers release said. Statistics indicate that liver cancer fatalities are increasing faster than any other cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Although most HCC patients are diagnosed at advanced stages, ruling them out for restorative treatments, experts are hopeful that effective treatments can be developed for that population.
“In recent years, there has been growing interest in leveraging immuno-oncology knowledge and discoveries to add to the treatment options available for patients with advanced-stage liver cancer,” Dr. Anthony El-Khoueiry, the study’s lead investigator, said in the release. “The approval of Opdivo provides us with an encouraging approach and a new treatment option for appropriate patients with HCC following prior systemic therapy.”
El-Khoueiry is associate professor of clinical medicine and phase I program director at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and USC’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We are proud to bring the potential for clinically meaningful responses with immuno-oncology therapy to these advanced-stage HCC patients, who have had limited treatment options for years,” Chris Boerner, president, U.S. Commercial, Bristol-Myers Squibb, said in the release. “Today’s approval marks an important step toward our mission of delivering transformational medicines to treat conditions with a high unmet need.”