Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 4
By Temkin Jafarov, Saeed Isayev - Trend:
For the first time an biosimilar anti-cancer drug has been manufactured in Iran, country's Mehr news agency reported on Feb. 3.
Biosimilars also known as follow-on biologics are biologic medical products whose active drug substance is made by a living organism or derived from a living organism by means of recombinant DNA or controlled gene expression methods.
The drug, named "Pegajen" was publicly presented in Iran on Feb. 3. Reportedly the drug was manufactured using the latest technology for producing recombinant preparations.
Mehr news agency reported that Iran is only the second country in the world to start manufacturing such anti-cancer drug, after the United States.
Cancer is one of most common diseases in Iran, as the country, according to Iranian media outlets, is highly active in manufacturing own anti-cancer medicine.
In July of 2013, deputy head of the Organization for Food and Drugs of the Ministry of Health of Iran Shamsali Rezazade said that Iran started producing new anti-cancer drug, called "Docetaxel", which is used for treating various forms of cancer. Iran used to import the drug from abroad.
According to official statistics, 63,000 cases of cancer are revealed in Iran annually; 46,000 patients die. This is while Iranian media says that real number of cancer patients is 90,000-95,000, with over 50,000-55,000 fatalities.
On Jan. 29 Head of Cancer Research Center in Iran, Mohammad Ismayil Akbari told Iran's ISNA news agency that Iran has already lost 41,000 people to cancer last year (ends in March), and annually about 85,000 people catch cancer in the country.
Akbari noted that the chances of catching cancer are mostly equal between men and women, but the rate of those infected with cancer is higher among men (55 percent) than among women (44 percent).
Iranian media outlets claim that cancer is the third top reason for deaths in Iran - as every day about 105 people in the country die of cancer.
In 2012, Dr. Parviz Daryaei in Iran said that breast cancer is the third leading cause of death among Iranian women and 25,000 to 30,000 new cases are reported every year, noting at the time that only colon and rectal cancers kill more women.