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FDA approves drug for treating pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer is particularly deadly because it often goes undetected until it's in advanced stages.

Editor's note: The above video from March 2019 discusses Alex Trebek's pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

(CBS) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the ovarian cancer drug Lynparza to treat advanced pancreatic cancer, according to AstraZeneca and Merck, the companies that developed it.

An FDA spokesperson confirmed the approval. A panel at the agency this month recommended Lynparza after a study found that pancreatic cancer patients taking the drug went almost twice as long without their cancer getting worse than those taking a placebo. 

The FDA approved Lynparza's use as a maintenance treatment for those with so-called BRCA gene mutations whose cancer had spread beyond the pancreas and whose tumors did not grow after at least 16 weeks of chemotherapy, AstraZeneca and Merck said Monday in a joint news release. Whether a patient meets those criteria is determined by an FDA test.

MORE: Read the full story at CBS NEWS

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