New Cancer Drug Approved
A new class of cancer drug that can treat a wide range of tumors has been approved for use in Europe. Researchers across the world consider it revolutionary. This approval is a first of its kind, and the doctors termed it as ‘exciting.’
According to the doctors, Tumour-agnostic drugs are specific in its mode of action as it targets the genetic abnormality in contrast to conventional chemotherapy. This new cancer drug has the potential to remove side effects.
Charlotte Stevenson, a two-year-old from Belfast, was one of the first patients to benefit from the new cancer drug which was approved. She was diagnosed with infantile fibrosarcoma. It is a cancer of the body’s connective tissue.
She has been treated with larotrectinib as part of a clinical trial at the Royal Marsden Sutton, in London.
Esther, Charlotte’s mother, is happy that they decided to give this drug a try as her family had limited options. According to her mother, the drug had worked well on the tumor, and charlotte is back to a healthy life.
Infantile fibrosarcoma is caused due to a genetic defect abnormality known as an NTRK gene fusion. One part of her DNA mergedwith another. This led to an alteration in the blueprint of her body, consequently leading to the growth of cancer. NTRK gene fusions are not unique to sarcomas. NTRK mutations are relatively rare, but other targeted therapies are in development. They also appear in some brain, kidney, thyroid, and other cancers.
Dr. Julia Chisholm, a children’s cancer consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital, said that the New Cancer Drug Approved works across a range of cancers.
New Cancer Drug Approved- A Step Towards Precision Medicine
The approval of the new drug makes a step forward towards Precision Medicine. This technology takes advantage of the genetic make-up of each patient’s tumor, and as the name suggests, it is quite precise to an individual.
Dr. Chisholm says that several biochemical pathways are common in many different tumor types.
The decision by European regulators does not mean it will be instantly available for patients in the UK.
NHS England described tumor-agnostic drugs as a “revolutionary” and “exciting breakthrough” in cancer. According to the officials, preparations are underway to ensure patients were given access to them.
Simon Stevens NHS England chief executive said that the benefits for patients, in particular children, was immense. Being able to treat many different types of cancers with one drug is potentially huge, helping patients to lead healthier and longer lives.
Prof Charles Swanton Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician said NHS would need to ensure the right genomic testing is available across the country.
Dr. Brendon Gray from Bayer said that being the first tumor-agnostic medicine approved in Europe, larotrectinib represents a real shift in cancer treatment. Bayer developed- New Cancer Drug Approved– larotrectinib.