FDA approves Bristol-Myers drug for new use in kidney cancer

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WASHINGTON -- Federal health regulators have expanded approval of a cancer drug from Bristol-Myers Squibb to treat an advanced form of kidney cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration says the injectable-drug, Opdivo, is approved for patients with renal cell carcinoma who have previously tried certain other drugs.

More than 14,000 U.S. patients are expected to die from kidney and pelvis cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Patients taking Opdivo lived 25 months, or about five months longer, than patients treated with an older drug.

The FDA first approved Opdivo for melanoma last December.

Opdivo is part of a new class of drugs that work by blocking a protein that prevents the body's immune system from attacking cancer cells. Similar drugs include Yervoy, also from Bristol-Myers and Merck's Keytruda.