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Entries in Targeted Therapy (1)

Monday
Jun062011

Cancer: Genetic Mutations and Targeted Therapy

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From a weekend conference of top cancer doctors comes news of two related advances in cancer treatment, called targeted therapy.  Researchers presented their findings Saturday at the annual meeting for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

In one new study, a consortium of 14 institutions analyzed lung tumors from 1,000 patients. They found that 60 percent of the tumors had known genetic mutations. As a result, doctors can treat those patients with effective therapies targeted specifically to those genetic abnormalities.  

Such is the case in a second study of patients with melanoma-type cancers.  Half of all melanomas have a particular gene abnormality.  One target therapy for this mutation is an experimental drug called vemurafenib.  Patients who were treated with the experimental drug instead of the current standard of care -- chemotherapy -- responded  much better to the treatment.  Almost 50 percent of the patients on the experimental drug showed an a positive response compared to just six percent of those on chemo.  The results were so impressive that doctors cut short the study and switched the chemo patients to the experimental drug for ethical reasons.  

This is the first drug to show an improved reponse and survival in patients with advanced melanomas.  This targeted therapy could become the new standard for melanoma patients with the genetic abnormality.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio