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Progenics' Azedra therapy wins US FDA approval to treat 2 rare tumors

Progenics Pharmaceuticals Inc., a New York-based developer of cancer treatments, won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for Azedra, a treatment for two uncommon types of tumors.

Azedra may be used for certain patients age 12 and older who have either pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma that cannot be surgically removed, have spread beyond the original tumor site and require systemic anti-cancer therapy.

Pheochromocytoma is usually a benign tumor that develops in an adrenal gland, according to the Mayo Clinic. Adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce sex and stress hormones.

In pheochromocytoma, the tumor releases hormones that can lead to high blood pressure, which can result in damage to the cardiovascular system and other tissues if left untreated. Most people who develop the condition are between 20 and 50.

Paraganglioma originates in nerve cells found throughout the body. The tumor grows slowly, although it can become malignant and invasive. About half of these paraganglioma tumors can produce hormones that can induce high blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat, flushes, sweating, headache or tremors. Current treatment options include surgery and radiation therapy.