A new advanced cancer support drug with local ties to Memphis has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rolapitant (Varubi™), developed by Tesaro, Inc., has been approved by the FDA for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).

The drug received approval as a result of three phase III clinical trials led by an international research team that included Lee S. Schwartzberg, MD, Executive Director of West Cancer Center and internationally-renowned leader in oncology research and supportive care. Dr. Schwartzberg was the lead author on the study, published in the prestigious oncology journal, The Lancelet Oncology, which demonstrated a significant reduction in CINV as a result of the introduction of Rolapitant into their medication regimen.

“The approval of Rolapitant signifies a major advancement in the field of oncology supportive care,” said Dr. Schwartzberg. “Chemotherapy has been – and remains – one of the primary treatment methods for cancer patients. To have a drug that helps lessen the uncomfortable side effects that come with this treatment method is truly groundbreaking for cancer patients across the country and all over the world.”

A world-renowned medical oncologist and hematologist, Dr. Schwartzberg has been serving patients in Memphis and the Mid-South for more almost 30 years, first with the West Clinic and now as the Executive Director of the West Cancer Center. In addition to his numerous accolades as a result of his exceptional patient care, Dr. Schwartzberg is one of the world’s most respected experts in oncology research, focusing specifically on breast cancer, targeted therapy and supportive care. With more than 150 research papers published during his oncology career, Dr. Schwartzberg is leading efforts to establish West Cancer Center as a destination cancer center for both patients seeking innovative treatment options and scientists seeking a platform for groundbreaking research in oncology – an initiative that, according to West Cancer Center CEO Erich Mounce, is critical in the current oncology landscape.

“Dr. Schwartzberg’s work in supportive care has profound implications for cancer patients, all over the world,” said Erich Mounce. “This is another example of the groundbreaking work our West Cancer Center physicians and researchers are doing, every single day, right here in Memphis.”