ABC World News: FDA Approved Lung Cancer Drug, Xalkori.

New medical treatment for lung cancerAug 30, 2011 – ABC World News reported tonight that the FDA has approved a promising new pill for lung cancer called Xalkori manufactured by Pfizer. Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Chief Health Medical Editor reports on the story of Tina Meranda, a non-smoker and mother of two young boys who helped her husband run a winery has stage 4 lung cancer. She was told by her oncologist there was nothing he could do. Last February she was given only weeks to live.  She was so ill she could barely move from the bed to the sofa.

Dr. Besser tells how Tina’s husband, looking for hope, searched the internet and he found that patients who had tumors with a rare mutation, the ALK Gene, were being enrolled in a new drug study.  But only 3 to 5% of lung cancer tumors have this rare mutation.  Tina was tested for the ALK Gene and she felt she had hit the lottery when she learned that she had the mutation. When the drug works it works quickly.  Tina said that within 24 hours she was getting better.  Today she is off all pain killers and says she has more energy than she has had in the past three years.  And the tumors continued to shrink.  While it is too soon to know how long the drug will work for Tina, Tina said the drug has made life livable.

These results are hopeful news because each year lung cancer affects more than 200,000 people.  Even with aggressive treatment only 1% of patients with stage 4 lung cancer live for five years.

Dr. Besser explains how the drug works.  “The new pill, Xalkori, goes after the ALK Gene and the mutation that makes the tumor cells grow out of control.  The drug attaches itself to the protein made by the mutant gene and simply shuts the cell down.”

Dr. Alice Shaw of Massachsetts General Hospital says 90% of the patients will have some type of response and 60% of the patients will have a very significant response.

ABC’s Dr. Besser said this new approach on treating cancers is the wave of the future.  More and more doctors will be testing cancer patients at the start of therapy to understand what makes their individual tumors tick and will be prescribing drugs specifically for each patient’s type of tumor.  He feels this new approach gives a lot of hope for those on the war of cancer.

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2 thoughts on “ABC World News: FDA Approved Lung Cancer Drug, Xalkori.”

  1. i am requesting information on the cancer drug xalkori that dr besser was addressing on world news tonight.my mother is in stage3 the lady shown on the show was in stage 4, if it helped her that way it can help my mother, my mother is taking a lot of medications for pain that don’t seem to be doing much, they last about an hour or two then she suffer until her next dose which is every three to four hours, please help

    1. We are sorry to hear about your mother.
      We are not afiliated with the drug company however you might take these steps in trying to get help.
      Give this information about the new drug to your mother’s oncologist or physician. They may want to test her to see if your mother has this type of tumor.
      Also the drug is manufactured by Pfizer so you might want to contact them. Their website is http://www.pfizer.com. They have a Patient Assistance Program that might be able to help.
      I hope you are able to find what you are looking for and best wishes to your Mother.

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