ERBITUX offers patients new option for treating the disease and receives
approval from Health Canada for the treatment of head and neck cancer
MONTREAL, Oct. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - In keeping with its commitment to extend
and enhance the lives of Canadians through ongoing innovation, Bristol-Myers
Squibb Canada (BMS) announced today the commercialization of its innovative
cancer medication ERBITUX(TM) (cetuximab). This news is extremely important to
Canadian physicians and their patients suffering from colorectal cancer who
have exhausted other available treatments because it will give them a new
option to fight this deadly disease.
"Cetuximab will give us another chance to extend and improve the lives of
patients with advanced colorectal cancer for whom irinotecan-based
chemotherapy is no longer effective or tolerated," said Dr. Derek Jonker,
oncologist at the Ottawa Cancer Centre. "The availability of another treatment
option can have a significant impact on these people's lives and their
ERBITUX has been available to patients through Health Canada's Special
Access Program (SAP) and the decision by Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada to
commercialize ERBITUX will help expand access and improve the lives of more
patients who can benefit from it. Strong clinical data to support the use of
ERBITUX in patients with advanced colorectal cancer and the recent Health
Canada approval of ERBITUX in combination with radiotherapy for the initial
treatment of patients with head and neck cancer were key factors in the
decision. Bristol-Myers Squibb co-develops and co-commercializes ERBITUX in
North America through an agreement with ImClone Systems Incorporated.
"BMS is committed to working with health authorities in all provinces to
ensure that cancer patients have ready access to this innovative medication as
soon as possible," said Wayne Quigley, BMS Canada President and General
New treatment for head and neck cancer
ERBITUX represents a new generation of treatment for head and neck cancer
and the first new agent approved for this disease in 45 years. In a phase III
clinical trial comparing ERBITUX and radiation therapy to radiation alone,
patients who received ERBITUX had significantly improved survival (median
survival increased from 29 months to 49 months).
"Cetuximab is an important advance in the treatment of head and neck
cancer," said Dr. Sébastien Hotte, oncologist at the Juravinski Cancer Centre
in Hamilton. "The proven clinical benefits achieved with cetuximab in clinical
trials represent an exciting new therapeutic option in patients with head and
neck cancer at high risk of recurrence with radiation alone."
ERBITUX is an option for colorectal cancer patients who have not
responded adequately to irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimens. It is approved
for use in combination with irinotecan for patients with epidermal growth
factor receptor (EGFR)-expressing, metastatic colorectal cancer who are
refractory to other irinotecan-based chemotherapy regimens. It can also be
used as single agent therapy for patients who are intolerant to
ERBITUX is a new treatment for head and neck cancer, approved for use in
combination with radiation therapy for the initial treatment of locally or
regionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
Colorectal Cancer in Canada
Every year in Canada, an estimated 20,800 people are diagnosed with
colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country.
Half of these patients have metastatic disease, or cancer that has spread to
other organs, at the time of diagnosis.
About Head & Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer (HNC) is a generic term used when referring to a
heterogeneous group of neoplastic tumors, based on an anatomical region
including the upper oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx. The majority (90%) of
these malignancies are squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHN).
SCCHN affects body sites critical to the vital functions of speech and
swallowing leading to devastating effects on quality of life. Locally and
regionally advanced SCCHN patients are those who are either diagnosed with or
progress to stage III, IVA or IVB cancer.
Head & Neck Cancer in Canada
It is estimated that in Canada in 2008, there will be over 4,600 new
cases of head and neck cancer (HNC) diagnosed and nearly 1,700 HNC-related
deaths. The five-year survival rate for squamous cell carcinomas of the head
and neck (SCCHN) ranges from 27-56%. Locally and regionally advanced SCCHN
account for more than half of the total cases of HNC. Most HNC cases occur in
men over 50 years of age. Canadian men are 2.5 times more likely than women to
be diagnosed with HNC.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada
Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a global pharmaceutical and related health care
products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada is a leading provider of medicines to fight
cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, infectious diseases (including
HIV/AIDS), nervous system diseases and serious mental illness. Bristol-Myers
Squibb Company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the BMY symbol
(NYSE: BMY). Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada's operations are headquartered in
(TM)ERBITUX is a trademark of ImClone Systems Incorporated used under
license by Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada.
For further information:
For further information: Marc Osborne, Director, Public Affairs and
Government Relations, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, (514) 333-2463,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Nila Jacob, HKDP Communications and public affairs,
Cell: (416) 254-7694, email@example.com