An experimental cancer drug that targets a common genetic error has been shown to shrink tumors by up to 67 percent in just six weeks.
Scientists tested their newly developed anti-cancer drug AMG 510 on four patients, two of whom saw their tumors shrink. It didn't work for the others.
In studies with mice, the treatment helped to reduce and in some cases eradicate growing tumors.
The daily pill works by switching off the KRAS gene & # 39; & # 39 ;. Mutated forms of the genes are permanently & # 39; attached to & # 39 ;, causing cancer cells to multiply.
This abnormal activity feeds the development of up to 50 percent of lung cancer, as well as some pancreatic and colon cancers.
An experimental cancer drug that focuses on a common genetic error has shown that it can shrink tumors by up to 67 percent in just six weeks (photo)
The pharmaceutical company described their findings as a & # 39; milestone & # 39; for patients with cancer KRAS mutant cancers.
The research was led by the pharmaceutical company Amgen Research, based in Thousand Oaks, California.
The findings, published in Nature, are the first to report the effects of inhibiting KRAS with a drug.
The KRAS gene provides instructions for making a protein called K-Ras that tells cells to grow and divide or mature and take on functions.
It belongs to a class of genes known as oncogenes. When mutated, oncogenes can cause normal cells to become cancerous.
AMG 510, an oral medication, stops the activity of this oncogene, Dr. Jude Canon and his colleagues at Amgen revealed.
In mouse models of KRAS-mutated cancer, treatment helped to shrink, and in 20 percent of cases, the growing tumor destroyed.
Subsequently, in the first known clinical study of a KRAS-inhibiting drug AM510, four patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) who did not respond to treatment were given.
Improvements in tumor size were observed in two of the patients. However, it did not work for the other two patients.
After six weeks of treatment, the patient receiving a 180 mg dose saw his tumor shrink by 34 percent. The second patient, who had 360 mg, saw a 67 percent reduction.
In addition, treatment in colon cancer mice made the tumor more sensitive to other anticancer drugs and generated a stronger immune response – an effect known as a pro-inflammatory microenvironment.
Taken together, the results suggest that the drug could work well alone or in combination with other anti-cancer strategies.
KRAS has become an attractive drug target, but pharmaceutical development has been hampered because a binding site is unclear.
The team found a surface groove called His95 in KRAS. The potential of AMG 510 is ten times higher when it clicks into the groove.
The drug is a & # 39; breakthrough & # 39 ;, according to Professor Terence Rabbitts, of the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, who was not involved in the study.
He said: & # 39; The KRAS protein is very often changed in cancer in many different ways and these changes are an important factor in cancer development.
& # 39; The KRAS protein was thought not to be curable, although it is not the first drug-like compound described for KRAS.
& # 39; It is important to understand that the drug will not be useful in all cancers and in fact only in those cancers where a very special change has occurred in KRAS. & # 39;
Professor Eric O & # 39; Neill, a professor of cell and molecular biology, University of Oxford, who was not involved in the study, also urged caution.
He said: & # 39; The milestone is that this appears to have some clinical activity – the initial inhibitor was developed some time ago.
& # 39; Importantly, this drug would not work in patients who do not have the specific KRAS mutation (Kras 12C). & # 39;
Lung cancer, of which approximately 85 percent NSCLC, is very difficult to treat and for most people their cancer will return after treatment.
Survival is poor – about 35 percent of patients survive their cancer five years or more after being diagnosed, despite being diagnosed early. The rates worsen as the cancer is subsequently diagnosed.
WHAT IS LONG CANCER?
Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious forms of cancer.
In the UK, around 47,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year.
There are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages of lung cancer, but many people with the condition eventually develop symptoms, including:
– a persistent cough
– coughing up blood
– persistent shortness of breath
– unexplained fatigue and weight loss
– pain or pain when breathing or coughing
You should go to a doctor if you have these symptoms.
Types of lung cancer
There are two main forms of primary lung cancer.
These are classified by the type of cells in which the cancer begins to grow.
– Non-small cell lung cancer. The most common form, accounting for more than 87 percent of cases.
– It can be one of three types: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma or large cell carcinoma.
– Small cell lung cancer – a less common form that usually spreads faster than non-small cell lung cancer.
– The type of lung cancer you have determines which treatments are recommended.
Who is bothered by it
Lung cancer mainly affects the elderly. It is rare in people under 40 years of age.
More than four out of ten people diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK are 75 and older.
Although people who have never smoked may develop lung cancer, smoking is the most common cause (accounting for approximately 72 percent of cases).
This is because a number of different toxic substances are regularly inhaled when smoking.
Treat lung cancer
The treatment depends on the type of mutation that the cancer has, how far it spreads and how good your general health is.
If the condition is diagnosed early and the cancer cells are limited to a small area, surgery to remove the affected lung area may be recommended.
If surgery is unsuitable for your general health, radiotherapy may be recommended instead to destroy the cancer cells.
If the cancer has spread too far for surgery or radiotherapy to be effective, chemotherapy is usually used.
There are also a number of drugs that are called targeted therapies.
They focus on a specific change in or around the cancer cells that helps them grow.
Targeted therapies cannot cure lung cancer, but they can delay its spread.
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