New Drug Targets Genetic Mutations Common to Various Cancers

Dr Gunes Dr Hossami

Dr. Adem Günes & Dr. Abdulla El-Hossami

New Drug Targets Genetic Mutations Common to Various Cancers

Most types of cancer medication combat tumours by targeting specific forms of mutation, usually unique to specific types of cancer. When tested across varying forms of cancer, results are mixed. Larotrectinib is a new drug which is being developed to target a cancer-causing genetic mutation present in various forms of cancer. It has the potential to work on all cancers which are caused by a specific mutation found in numerous cancer types known as Tropomyosin Receptor Kinase (TRK) Fusion.

Precision Medicine
Precision medicine manages cancer by targeting specific genetic mutations and preventing progression. There are numerous therapies which have shown potential in combating multiple cancers which are caused by similar mutation types. The effectiveness of these treatments on numerous types of cancer, however, varies. Tests for the effectiveness of cancer medication have found varying results which are commonly contingent upon where the cancer first manifests. Lung and Colorectal Cancer, for example, are caused by the same genetic alteration. However, targeted treatments for the former may not be effective for the latter, and vice versa.

Larotrectinib has shown an impressive anti-tumour effect on cancers which carry TRK fusion mutations. Three clinical trials have shown positive and lasting results on a large majority of adults and children who have tumours caused by TRK fusion. Dr. David Hyman, Chief of the Early Drug Development Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering, has stated that the consistently positive results caused by the drug on various cancer types is groundbreaking.

Results from Clinical Studies
The three clinical studies conducted to test Larotrectinib involved 55 individuals who were diagnosed with forms of cancer caused by TRK fusion. Ages of the test subjects ranged from 4 months to 76 years. The test covered 17 types of tumours. During the tests, a total of 76% of test subjects recorded a response to the treatment. By the time of data analysis, 89% of the recipients were reported to have experienced a cessation in the growth of their cancer.

TRK Fusions occur when Neurotrophic Tyrosine Receptor Kinase (NTRK) genes attach themselves to unrelated genes. This leads to TRK signalling and the start of an uncontrolled growth, which is the origin of many forms of cancer. TRK fusions aren’t that common among individual cancers but they are observed in thousands of patients diagnosed with cancer.

When a TRK Fusion is identified in a person suffering from a form of cancer, it is found in all of that person’s cancer cells. Also, noteworthy is the fact that cells with this Fusion rarely harbour any other well-known cancer-causing mutations. It is present from early stages of cancer until later stages of progression. All of these make TRK Fusions an ideal target for treatments.

Due to its potential, Larotrectinib has been granted the Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the USA FDA in 2016. The label is conferred by the agency to a drug that has demonstrated the potential to provide substantial improvements in treating conditions relative to existing treatments. The designation is made to hasten the review process for these drugs.

Despite the promising outlook for Larotrectinib, it is not yet fully effective. The studies done have noted several instances wherein cancer cells begin to develop a resistance to the treatment. The similarities in the reaction of these resistant cancer cells to the treatment are indicative of a single common response by the cells. Clinical trials for an inhibitor to address this resistance is set to begin. The prospects are positive but have yet to be proven.

Larotrectinib is just one of many new potential means to combat cancer. Numerous forms of treatment are being researched and explored. Verita Life, a company that specialises in complementary and Integrative Cancer Treatments builds on established treatment methodologies coupled with cutting edge technology and insight from leading Integrative Oncologists.

Please visit veritalife.com to learn more about possible treatment options.

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