People in England living with a specific type of lung cancer will be the first in Europe to be offered a new drug shown to halt tumour progression.
The new treatment, Sotorasib, is taken as tablet.
It works by targeting a gene called KRAS, which controls production of a particular protein, switching it on and off. A mutation in this gene can lead to more cells being produced, which become a tumour. Sotorasib binds with a protein of the KRAS G12C mutation, making it inactive and stopping cell division and cancer growth.
In clinical trials, it has been shown to prevent tumour progression in patients for up to seven months.
Following approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reached an agreement with the manufacturer, Amgen UK, to enable early access to the drug for eligible lung cancer patients while NICE completes its full appraisal.
Initially, around 600 patients in England are likely to receive the drug over the next few weeks. In the longer term, thousands of lung cancer patients may benefit from Sotorasib.
Welcoming the announcement, our chief executive, Paula Chadwick, said:
“This is great news. After the setbacks and delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the various lockdown measures to contain it, we feared that lung cancer might once again drop down the health agenda.
‘’That’s why we have campaigned so hard during the past 20 months to ensure that the urgent needs of people diagnosed with lung cancer are not forgotten or ignored.
‘’Now, to hear that there is a new, viable treatment for a particular type of lung cancer is uplifting.
‘’It adds to our arsenal of effective precision therapies that are helping patients who would previously have had more limited treatment options.
‘’We are confident there will more good news, with more new treatments becoming available as we emerge from under the shadow of the pandemic. This is very encouraging.’’