European Union has approved the use of a revolutionary class of cancer drug for treatment of wide range of tumors for the first time. Typically drugs that are tumor agnostic do not care about location of tumors and will attack all tumors that have a particular kind of genetic abnormality within them. Doctors in UK that tested the drug said that the discovery was very exciting as the approach had ability to cure large number of patients with little side effects. The approved cancer drug is called larotrectinib and was first given to two year old Charlotte Stevenson.
Afflicted with infantile fibrosarcoma which affects body’s connective tissue, Charlotte was treated with larotrectinib during its clinical trial at Royal Marsden Sutton in London last year. Her ecstatic mother Ester said that as they had limited options they decided to go ahead with the trial and never regretted their decision. Little Charlotte is growing at a healthy pace and is full of energy and enthusiasm for life. As the drug had an incredible impact on her tumor she can now lead a fairly normal life. Her cancerous tumor was due to a genetic abnormality called NTRK gene fusion.
A section of Charlotte’s DNA accidently merged with another that altered the blueprint of her body and led to growth of her cancer. NTRK genetic fusions are not unique to sarcomas as they appear in few other cancers of brain, kidney, thyroid and others. Children’s cancer consultant at the hospital Dr. Julia Chisholm stated that the medicine is very exciting as it works on a wide range of cancers instead of working on just a few. This medication marks a move towards precision medicine that takes advantage of a patient’s tumor based on its genetic makeup. The decision of European regulators does not imply that the medicine will be immediately available in UK.