The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new medication Cosela for injection to decrease the damage to the immune system and bone marrow from chemotherapy administered for lung cancer.

Specifically, the medication works to decrease the incidence of chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression in adults receiving a platinum/etoposide-containing or topotecan-containing chemotherapy regimen for extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC).

“The approval of trilaciclib (Cosela) is an important advance in the treatment of patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer receiving chemotherapy,” said Jeffrey Crawford, Geller Professor for Research in Cancer in the Department of Medicine and Duke Cancer Institute. “The most serious and life-threatening side effect of chemotherapy is myelosuppression, or damage to the bone marrow, resulting in reduced white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Chemotherapy-induced myelosuppression may lead to increased risks of infection, severe anemia, and/or bleeding.”

The drug is also being evaluated across a range of tumor types and chemotherapy regimens, including in colorectal cancer and metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.

The drug is given intravenously as a 30-minute infusion within four hours ahead of the start of chemotherapy. It’s one of the first FDA-approved therapy that can offer proactive, “multilineage protection” from myelosuppression caused by chemotherapy.