According to a story from The Boston Herald, a new treatment for acromegaly called Mycapssa was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA). Developed by Chiasma, a company based in Needham, Massachusetts, the drug is the first orally available treatment for the condition. Previously available medications were administered by injection, so having an oral drug makes treatment less bothersome for patients and should improve adherence.
Acromegaly is a condition that is characterized by the excessive release of growth hormone in the body after the growth plates have already closed. The disease is caused by overproduction of growth hormone by the pituitary gland, which usually occurs as a result of a tumor of the pituitary gland or of another organ in the body, such as the lungs or adrenal glands. Symptoms include enlargement of the feet, hands, nose, jaw, and forehead, deepening voice, and thick skin. The condition can occasionally cause serious complications like heart or kidney failure, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Treatment may include radiation therapy, surgical removal of the tumor, and a number of medications to suppress growth hormone production. Most people see their symptoms disappear after successful treatment, and life expectancy is not affected. To learn more about acromegaly, click here.
Mycapssa is a capsule which is designed to travel through the stomach unharmed until it enters the intestines, where it is absorbed by the body. The active ingredient is the same as in the previously used injection, but the oral administration will make treatment more convenient. Ellen Pelan, aged 60, was diagnosed with the condition a few years ago. While she saw her symptoms resolve after her tumor was removed with surgery, this doesn’t work for all patients. Mycapssa is capable of reducing the production of growth hormone and can even shrink the pituitary tumor in some patients.
Now that the drug has been approved, it is expected to be available for patients before the end of the year. Having an oral treatment is something that many members of the acromegaly community have been hoping for.