Intas Pharmaceuticals has reinforced its oncology product range by successfully introducing for the first time in India, Azacitidine molecule in Azadine. Azacitidine induces antineoplastic activity via two mechanisms; inhibition of DNA methyltransferase at low doses, causing hypomethylation of DNA, and direct cytotoxicity in abnormal haematopoietic cells in the bone marrow through its incorporation into DNA and RNA at high doses, resulting into tumourous cell death.
Azacitidine has been approved by the US FDA since May, 2004. Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells and there are abnormal (blast) cells in the blood and/or in the bone marrow. Advanced stages of MDS may lead to Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). It is estimated that four to five people per 1,00,000 suffer from MDS/AML Data extrapolated to Indian population from global epidemiologic studies suggest that the disease burden of MDS in India is likely to be sizeable. Also, cytogenetic studies suggest that MDS patients in India get affected by the disease at a younger age and also tend to have a ‘higher risk.’
Currently, for combating this type of cancer in the country, oncologists have to rely on an imported version of Azacitidine. The treatment cost of imported Azacitidine can range between Rs 15-18 lakhs. The cost of treatment with other options ranging from conventional agents to transplants may cost between Rs two lakh to 15 lakh. Azadine has been priced with an objective to make it accessible to a majority of the needy patients. It is priced at one fifth of the innovator brand. Azacitidine is the only drug which has been shown to prolong overall survival duration, prolong time to transformation into AML, increase response rate, reduce transfusion burden & improve quality of life.
Azacitidine will also offer better convenience and compliance and reduce hospital visits due to subcutaneous administration.
EP News Bureau-Mumbai