China's drug authority has given approval for the country's first domestically-developed cancer treatment drug to enter the market.
Made by Shanghai-based pharmaceutical company Hutchison China MediTech Limited, the oral drug, called fruquintinib, is reportedly effective at fighting colorectal cancer, and has a low toxicity to humans.
Fruquintinib is a highly selective and potent inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR). This means that it can inhibit the growth of solid tumors by preventing them from developing the new blood vessels that they need to grow.
At least 370,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer in China each year. By the time most of them are diagnosed, the disease has already entered a late-stage, which makes it difficult to treat.
The drug regulator said that the new drug brings hope to colorectal cancer patients who have undergone at least two prior chemotherapy treatments without seeing a remission of the disease.