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FDA Approves Avastin for the Most Common Type of Kidney Cancer

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Genentech, Inc., a wholly-owned member of the Roche Group has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Avastin® (bevacizumab) plus interferon-alfa for people with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, kidney cancer is the eighth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. In 2009, approximately 13,000 Americans will die from the disease.

"During the last five years, Avastin has been approved by the FDA to treat five different types of cancer," said Hal Barron, M.D., executive vice president, Global Development and chief medical officer, Genentech. "We aim to help more people facing difficult-to-treat cancers and will continue studying Avastin in more than 30 other tumor types."

Avastin is designed to block the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) protein to address a key underlying cause of cancer growth. Avastin works differently than other approved medicines for renal cell carcinoma because it specifically binds to the VEGF protein, which is produced in elevated amounts in most kidney cancers.

"We hope that researchers someday find a cure for kidney cancer," said William P. Bro, chief executive officer of the Kidney Cancer Association. "Until then, each new medicine, like Avastin, offers patients an opportunity to find a treatment best suited for them."

Kidney cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells that originate in the kidneys without a known cause. Nine out of ten people with kidney cancer have renal cell carcinoma.