FDA Too Aggressive About Blocking Life-Saving Drugs

When my friend Ira was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer he went through surgery and chemotherapy, but was still facing a short life expectancy. Then he was lucky to be 1 of only 26 patients in an early phase clinical trial of a drug called Ipafricept made by a start-up called Oncomed. Ira did well, as did 81% of the patients who got the drug.  He was soon free of cancer and is thriving today, over 8 years later. But soon after the trial was completed Oncomed ran of funds and closed, and development of this life saving drug halted. In the intervening years over 400,000 Americans have been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer, and most have died or are dying.  I can’t say for sure, but I believe that this awful cancer would have claimed far fewer lives in those years if Ipafricept had received broader support, especially after it was shown to save precious lives.

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