Austin, Texas (CBS HOUSTON) — A Texas woman is pleading with a major US drug company to early-release a possibly life-saving medication in order to save her cancer-stricken mother.
Chen Zhang of Austin has started a Change.org petition to pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to sign off on the early release of an investigational immunotherapy drug, Ramucirumab, to help her mother, Yu ‘Denise’ Deng, 52, fight late-state gastric cancer, The Daily Mail first reported.
The drug is not expected to be approved until after April 2014, but Eli Lilly must sign-off for the Food & Drug Administration to allow its distribution for expanded access or individual patients.
The petition now with about 25,000 signatures reads: “My mom, who is only 52, has late stage gastric cancer and desperately needs the drug, Ramucirumab. She has endured 10+ surgeries, multiple rounds of chemo, radiation, and throughout it all has managed to maintain her spirit and beautiful warm smile.”
“We have exhausted all other options, and this miraculous drug that you developed is our last hope. I, my dad, and all of the supporters on this petition implore you to do the right thing. A simple “yes” from you can not only help save a life, but demonstrate their dedication to ethics and compassion to thousands of supporters.
“Time is running out, please allow my mom individual patient access to Ramucirumab now,” writes Zhang.
Part of Zhang’s campaign has included an image comparing her mother’s struggle to “big pharma.”
In a post from Zhang, a Lilly VP responded with his regrets about her mother’s situation, but that the company doesn’t have a “compassionate use program,” and she should talk with an oncologist about other options.
According to Oncology Live, clinical testing showed that Ramucirumab “significantly prolonged survival in patients” with advanced gastric conditions.
“What we found is that the patients who received the antibody had a significant improvement in their survival as well as reducing the rate of cancer progression,” the lead author of the REGARD trial, Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, said in a statement to Onc Live.