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"Kidney cancer drug on fast track"

Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Published: 13 Jul 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

A new drug that significantly increases the survival time of kidney cancer patients is being fast-tracked by Health Canada and is expected to be approved by July.

The world's highest kidney cancer rates are in North America. Three years ago there were 4,000 cases in Canada, a figure that has skyrocketed to 5,500 today.

Smoking is the No. 1 cause, while the obesity epidemic with its concomitant kidney damage and an increase in pollution are also implicated.

The five-year survival rate of a metastatic renal cell carcinoma patient is five to 10 per cent....

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 4 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This article makes the claim that a new drug treatment called Torisel that "is injected intravenously and destroys the blood vessels that feed the cancerous cells" is a promising new treatment for kidney cancer patients.

This article lacks key vital information such as the extent of the drug's potential harms, the comparison of the treatment to alternatives, the costs of the treatment and so on.

We never really learn why this drug is being "fast tracked" at Health Canada. Nor do we learn why there seems to be such a high rate of kidney cancers in North America, both vital pieces of information that would give the story important context. And sadly, we are left to wonder about the potential conflicts of interest of the lead researchers who speak so glowingly of this treatment.

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