Oral therapy approved for cancers associated with rare genetic changes

Part of research for drug development

Part of research for drug development – Credit: @Gentileza

Another drug has just been added to the cancer treatment toolkit in the so-called precision medicine, which aims to treat tumors according to genetic biomarkers and is proving to improve patient response. It is oral therapy for adults and children with different types locally advanced solid tumors or with metastases associated with a genetic change present in 1% of patients with these cancers, but in up to 90% of cases in some rare diagnoses.

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Yesterday, in the presentation of the obtained results, s larotrectinib and distributed at the last annual convention European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO, for the acronym in English), spokespersons for Bayerproduction laboratory, pointed out that with recent approval Anmat of this new drug includes a therapeutic alternative for patients with pediatric solid tumors, sarcomas, thyroid, lung, digestive system or skin (melanoma), “as long as they have the same genetic modification, which has been described in more than 20 types of cancer.

They estimated that there would be about 100 cancer patients each year who would meet those laboratory requirements for the indication of a new therapy.

This modification is known as fusion in the NTRK gene. In tumors arising from this genetic change, according to the company, the overall response rate in adult patients was 67% and in pediatric patients 87%. The drug is given through a capsule or liquid solution, which “does not work on one type of tumor, but on a large number of tumors that express the same genetic abnormality,” he explained. Hector Mirandamedical director of the Bayer Southern Cone Pharmaceutical Division, on the approved indication for advanced disease in an organ or with metastases.

Genetic tests indicated for cancer patients to determine certain tumor characteristics that allow better definition of the disease and treatment enable the identification of specific biomarkers for which therapies already exist in the field of precision medicine. Certain forms of cancer are positive in these tests neutrophil receptor tyrosine kinase gene fusion (NTRK, by name in English).

Those genes – NTRK 1, 2 and 3 – it can fuse with another gene and cause abnormal proteins to form (TRK fusion proteins) that change cell growth so that it becomes uncontrolled and favors the appearance of tumor cells.

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They also attended the presentation, in one of the halls of the hotel in the center of Buenos Aires Adrian Roseoncologist at Garrahan HospitalMr Edith Grynszpancholcpresident of the association Fundación Natalí Dafne Flexer. Each year, according to Rose, about 1,350 pediatric cancers are diagnosed in the country and it is the second leading cause of death among children and adolescents between the ages of one and 15. 80% are treated in the public sector; Garrahan receives 520 of all annual cases.

Adriana Rose, oncologist at Garrahan Hospital, during the presentation of a new oncology therapy

Adriana Rose, oncologist at Garrahan Hospital, during the presentation of a new oncology therapy – Credit: @Gentileza Bayer

“With advances in chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and clinical support, 80% of children can be cured. But there remains a percentage of patients with locally advanced, inoperable, metastatic or relapsed or refractory tumors. This subgroup needs other types of treatment,” added the pediatric oncologist.

Turning to precision medicine, he pointed out that progress in that area “produced a revolution in healthcare because it was possible to start doing genetic and molecular profiling of patients and adopt personalized treatments.” In paediatrics, progress has been made in the last 10 years with great difficulties: the patients who have access are a very heterogeneous population, the treatments that are subsequently given to them are also very different and, basically, access to these treatments is difficult”.

He emphasized that larotrectinib it is the second of three drugs approved for genomic, rather than histological, targets to be incorporated into cancer treatment. He defined it as an “innovative therapy for solid tumors [con fusión NTRK] both in adults and children, and occur in about 20 types of cancer. This is a step that should be taken in the use of drugs that are less toxic and with a better quality of life for the patient”.

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