ABC news have posted a story about a man named James Lango, who was diagnosed with a number of cancers, but has survived longer than expected thanks to an experimental cancer treatment. “Molecular targeted therapy” was used on Lagno, with new varieties of drugs tailored specifically to target the type of cancer he has.
Lagno had a combination of cancers including late stage lung cancer, thyroid cancer and brain lesions. The survival rate for late stage lung cancer alone is very low, so doctors had given him a year at the most.
A biopsy of one of the tumors in James’ lungs found a rare mutation responsible for the cancer. Using the DNA from that mutation, a drug was developed that specifically targeted it. The drugs target specific proteins that are used by this particular cancer mutation.
Lagno still has tumors, but they have not grown or spread, because the cancer lacks the proteins required to help it spread. He has survived for three year so far, when doctors expected one year at the most thanks to the treatent.
The drug in question is “Ceritinib”. It has recently been approved by the FDA. It is one of a wave of new drugs coming onto the market that are designed to target specific cancers based upon their DNA and the proteins they use to spread through the body.
The FDA are also streamlining their approvals process so many of the high specialized DNA targeted cancer drugs are getting to market quickly. Great news for cancer sufferers.