With pancreatic cancer poised to become the third leading cause of cancer death in Europe, Celgene International Sàrl, a subsidiary of Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG), has reiterated its commitment to patients and their families with the announcement that it will focus significant resources to increase awareness and understanding of the disease.
Key initiatives include a clinical study programme involving more than 4,800 patients, as well as investment in research partnerships, both of which can help to uncover innovative new treatment options and advance the understanding of the biology of the disease. Celgene also is looking into opportunities to better understand the needs of patients and caregivers specifically, through dedicated research planned for later in 2014. These initiatives aim to help address the lack of progress in this disease, as highlighted by the Consumer Powerhouse European Pancreatic Cancer Index (EPCI) published yesterday.
The mortality of pancreatic cancer remains nearly equal to its prevalence,(1) with a median life expectancy, after diagnosis with metastatic pancreatic cancer being approximately 3–6 months.(2) “The EPCI draws important attention to a disease that is too often written off as a death sentence. Support from many different audiences and across all aspects of the disease, from diagnosis, to treatment, to palliative care, is urgently needed to change this,” said Pablo del Pino, Vice President of Oncology for Celgene in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
There are only three medications approved for advanced pancreatic cancer, as more than 30 Phase III clinical trials have failed in this area in the last decades(3) The task of finding new treatment options that can succeed in clinical studies and bring a meaningful benefit to patients is daunting, but it is a task that Celgene is committed to continue making a reality. The company has one of the most extensive clinical study programmes in pancreatic cancer: Today, there are 18 clinical studies being supported by Celgene involving more than 4,800 patients, including a registration study for early-stage resectable cancer; a Celgene-sponsored study on locally advanced disease and in a special population of difficult-to-treat patients; and 15 independent, physician-led studies into other aspects of the disease.
With these trials, Celgene hopes to shed new light on potential options for patients and their families. “Celgene is investigating every aspect and finding ways in which we can make a difference in this disease. In addition to the approximately 30% of revenues that we have re-invested annually over the past 10 years into research and development for future innovation – which is twice the industry average in pharmaceuticals – we also are forming important partnerships to build on our current regimen, find new treatment options, and explore biomarkers that can help identify the right patients for specific treatments,” said del Pino.
Another aspect of Celgene’s comment is its focus on patient needs. “We are working closely with physicians and patient advocacy groups to better understand the needs of patients and caregivers impacted by pancreatic cancer and how Celgene may support them,” del Pino explained. To this end, Celgene is currently partnering with pancreatic cancer advocacy groups across Europe to undertake extensive patient- and caregiver-focused research. Results of the research will help identify additional areas for focus in 2015 and beyond.
Alan Colowick, MD, President of Celgene Europe, Middle East and Africa, said, “Our efforts so far are already helping to drive change in how pancreatic cancer is treated, but we recognise that there is more to be done. We will not be satisfied until we, along with the many others focused on this disease, continue to drive meaningful change and see pancreatic cancer become a manageable disease for as many people as possible.”
- WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. European Cancer Observatory – EUCAN pancreatic cancer. http://eco.iarc.fr/eucan/Cancer.aspx?Cancer=15#block-table-m [Last accessed March 2014]
- Huggett MT, et al. Diagnosing and managing pancreatic cancer. Practitioner 2011;255(1742):21-23
- Clinical Trials.gov. Available online at http://clinicaltrial.gov/ct2/results?term=adenocarcinoma+ of+the+pancreas&recr=Active%2C+not+recruiting&no_unk=Y&rslt=&type=&cond=%22Adenocarcinoma%22&intr=&titles=&outc=&spons=&lead=&id=&state1=&cntry1=&state2=&cntry2=&state3=&cntry3=&locn=&gndr=&phase=2&rcv_s=&rcv_e=&lup_s=&lup_e Accessed February 2014