Thyroid cancer drug given expanded approval by FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given expanded approval for a drug used to treat thyroid cancer.

The drug Thyrogen which is manufactured by drug company Genzyme can now be used in combination with radioiodine to kill remaining thyroid tissues after patients have had cancerous thyroids removed.

Thyrogen was first granted approval for use in patients by the FDA in 1998 and is used as an additional diagnostic tool for detecting blood levels of thyroglobulin with or without radioiodine imaging in the follow-up of patients with certain types of thyroid cancer.

According to Genzyme about 90% of thyroid cancer cases fall into the new expanded approval range for the drug and the company says the extended use is an important milestone in their efforts to expand the clinical applications of Thyrogen.

Genzyme says the new indication will extend the benefits of Thyrogen to patients during their initial treatment for thyroid cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 33,000 cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.

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