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EAST HANOVER, N.J. Swiss drug maker Novartis said its investigational drug is the first to show promise in a late-stage clinical trial for Cushing’s disease, a potentially fatal hormonal disorder.
Novartis announced Wednesday that the drug SOM230 (pasireotide) had reduced cortisol levels in patients with Cushing’s disease. The disease results from a benign pituitary tumor that causes the adrenal glands to produce excess cortisol. This can lead to metabolic and cardiovascular problems and death. Results will be presented at the 14th congress of the European Neuroendocrine Association.
“There is a critical need for a medical treatment for people with Cushing’s disease because currently available options, such as surgery or radiotherapy, are ultimately not effective for many of the patients who suffer from this debilitating disease,” said William Ludlam, director of the Seattle Pituitary Center at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute in Seattle. “The results of this study suggest that pasireotide may help patients achieve biochemical control of their Cushing’s disease and its symptoms by directly targeting the pituitary tumor that triggers excess cortisol production.”