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Avaston (Bevacizumab, from Genentech Oncology) has been approved by the FDA as a single agent for patients with progressive glioblastoma (GBM) following prior therapy. This is an important advance for treating GBM’s, a common form of brain cancer also called grade IV astrocytoma. All GBM tumors have abnormal and numerous blood vessels, a common feature of a fast-growing tumor. These blood vessels deliver necessary oxygen and nutrients to GBM tumors, helping them grow and spread. In order to grow and spread, these tumors need the nutrients and oxygen that are carried in the blood. To get blood, nearby blood vessels begin to grow toward the tumor. This new growth of vessels is called angiogenesis. Avastin is a angiogenesis inhibitor that can block the formation of blood vessels around these brain tumors. Without these blood vessels, a tumor is starved of the nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive and grow.
The effectiveness of Avastin on GBM is based on tumor response. Currently, no data have shown whether Avastin improves disease-related symptoms or survival in people previously treated for GBM.
Read about other advances in GBM treatment in my blog, “Advances in the Treatment of Glioblastoma of the Brain.”
For more information, including potential side effects, go to their website: http://www.avastin.com