FDA approves Novartis combo therapy for aggressive type of thyroid cancer

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen outside the company's offices in Athens, Greece, February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Novartis AG’s combination therapy to treat an aggressive type of thyroid cancer.

The therapy, which uses Novartis’ Tafinlar and Mekinist, was approved to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer that cannot be removed surgically or has spread to other parts of the body, and has a type of abnormal gene known as BRAF V600E.

This is the first FDA-approved treatment for patients with this form of thyroid cancer and the third type of cancer with this specific gene mutation, the FDA said

The company has been expanding the use of this drug for other diseases as well. In combination, Tafinlar and Mekinist are approved for use to treat a type of lung cancer that has the BRAF V600E gene.

The FDA had last month approved the combination to treat a type of melanoma.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru