[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Game items...

             Abortion Pill's Potential Use on Tumors
             Adds to Debate Over U.S. Market Entree
             By Ron Winslow
             Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
DD        10/12/92
LP           LOS ANGELES -- Medical researchers are studying a potential new
       *  use for the controversial French abortion pill RU-486: treatment
       *  benign brain tumors.
             A large-scale clinical trial was launched at the University of
       *  Southern California last week to determine whether the drug
          effectively slows or halts growth of meningiomas, tumors that
       *  on the surface of the brain and spinal cord.
TX           The answer won't be known for several years, but the study adds
          another dimension to the debate over whether the drug, known as
          mifepristone, should be allowed on the market in the U.S.
          Rousell-Uclaf, its manufacturer, hasn't sought marketing approval
          the U.S. because of the heat of the political battle over
          The study raises the possibility that a drug that could benefit
          patients won't become available because of a political dispute
          another application.
             "There is a good chance there will be legitimate uses for this
          drug outside of contraception and abortion," said Steven Grunberg,
          an oncologist at the USC School of Medicine. "Whether U.S.
          regulatory officials feel this will be sufficient for licensing
          be up to them."
             A study published last week found the drug to be effective as a
          contraceptive when taken shortly after sexual intercourse. It is
          already used in France, the United Kingdom and Sweden to induce
          abortions within the first nine weeks of pregancy.
             Meningiomas account for 15% to 18% of all tumors in the central
          nervous system, and while they are benign -- meaning that they
          spread to other parts of the body -- their growth can lead to such
          problems as seizures, blindness or paralysis. Most can be removed
       *  surgery, but some grow so close to crucial brain structures that
          surgery isn't possible.
             Dr. Grunberg told reporters at a science writers' conference
          sponsored by the American Medical Association that the large-scale
       *  trial of RU-486 for the tumors comes after a small pilot study of
          patients turned up encouraging, though not definitive results.
             In the small study, eight patients experienced improvement in
       *  symptoms or had minor reduction in tumor size, according to brain
          scans. In a few other patients, growth of the tumor stabilized
          treatment began. While not overwhelming evidence of effectiveness,
          the results were nevertheless sufficient to persuade the Food and
          Drug Administration to approve a large study that will involve 200
          patients at several U.S. medical centers, and will be based at
          Dr. Grunberg said.
             Results from the trial aren't expected for at least four years,
          and based on current medical practice, only a small number of
       *  would probably benefit from use of RU-486 in meningiomas. The
          might have broader impact by drawing attention to other potential
          benefits of a drug that isn't available in the U.S. because its
          primary application is to induce abortion.
             Dr. Grunberg said the drug is also being studied as a treatment
          for breast cancer, endometriosis and a disorder called Cushing's
          disease, which is characterized by obesity and hypertension.
          other trials have been approved by the FDA, he added, though none
          has progressed as far as the meningioma study.
       *     He said his research team came upon RU-486 as a candidate for
          treating meningiomas because the drug blocks the action of
          progesterone, a hormone that appears to promote growth of the
          tumors. "We didn't set out to make a political statement for
       *  RU-486," he said. "It just appeared to fill the bill for what
          trying to do."