IMAGE: Briana Ayala, left, with her oncologist, Dr. Ted Laetsch. Dr. Laetsch had Briana’s tumor tested for a TRK fusion and then successfully treated her with larotrectinib. view more
Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center
DALLAS – March 29, 2018 – A first-of-its-kind drug targeting a fused gene found in many types of cancer was effective in 93 percent of pediatric patients tested, researchers at UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center announced.
Most cancer drugs are targeted to specific organs or locations in the body. Larotrectinib is the first cancer drug to receive FDA breakthrough therapy designation for patients with a specific fusion of two genes in the cancer cell, no matter what cancer type. The research appears in The Lancet Oncology.
“In some cancers, a part of the TRK gene has become attached to another gene, which is called a fusion. When this occurs, it leads to the TRK gene being turned on when it’s not supposed to be and that causes the cells to grow uncontrollably. What’s unique about the drug is it is very selective; it only blocks TRK receptors,” said lead author Dr. Ted Laetsch, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Lancet Oncology paper
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