NHS England has announced a deal has been struck to bring the first in a new class of cancer drugs to patients.
These products represent a breakthrough for cancer therapy, in that a specific tumour and cell type is no longer the target. A tumour-agnostic product can target several cancer types, bringing efficiencies and saving to oncology treatment.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said:
“While NHS staff are working around the clock to deal with the global coronavirus pandemic, the NHS is also working hard to make sure that the best care is available for other patients.
“Cancer treatment must be a priority, and that will be advanced by the first in a new generation of drugs that can cure previously untreatable tumours.
“This exciting new breakthrough in cancer treatment is the latest example of how the NHS leads the way in the new era of personalised cancer care, even when pulling out all the stops to respond to coronavirus.
“The benefits for patients, in particular children, of being able to treat many different types of cancers with one drug is potentially huge, helping them to lead longer, healthier lives.”
The drug achieving this deal is Larotrectinib. Its mode of action is to target all solid tumours expressing neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusions. Several rare cancers and some common cancers carry this trait, making many forms of tumour susceptible to the new product.
Many more tumour-agnostic products are also in development.
Read the full announcement of NHS England here.