The FDA recently approved cetuximab (Erbitux) for use with chemotherapy to treat late-stage (metastatic) head and neck cancer. Most commonly reported side effects were rash; pruritus; nail changes; headache; diarrhea; and respiratory, skin, and mouth infections. Cetuximab can cause low serum magnesium, potassium, and calcium, and has been associated with serious and life-threatening infusion reactions and heart attack. Patients taking cetuximab should limit their exposure to the sun.
The first licensed hematopoietic progenitor cells-cord (HPC-C) cell therapy, Hemacord, was granted FDA approval. Hemacord is indicated for use in hematopoetic stem cell transplantation procedures in patients with disorders affecting the blood forming system.
The FDA approved asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi (Erwinaze) for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in patients who have developed an allergy to E coli-derived asparaginase and pegaspargase chemotherapy drugs. Side effects associated with this drug include anaphylaxis, pancreatitis, abnormal transaminases and bilirubin, blood clotting, hemorrhage, nausea, vomiting, and hyperglycemia. ONA