A pill developed by pharma major AstraZeneca has shown to reduce the risk of death in lung cancer patients by 51 percent.
The data was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Here's all you need to know about the new drug.
What Kind of Cancer Is It Used For?
The treatment is aimed for individuals with non-small cell lung cancer with an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutation.
This is a biomarker that doctors aim to identify in patients with this type of cancer to be able to find the exact defect present in the DNA that is causing cancerous cell growth. This helps narrow down specific, effective treatments for the patients.
The Big Point
The drug ‘Osimertinib’, marketed under the name of ‘Tagrisso’, has achieved lowering the risk of death in patients by a striking 51 percent, if consumed daily after they've undergone surgery to remove the tumour.
In the study, results were compared five years after the treatment to gauge the efficiency of the drug.
It was found that 88 percent of the patients who took the treatment were still alive in contrast with the 78 percent who received placebo.
This data was described as “impressive” by Rob Herbst of Yale University. He said that the drug helps to “prevent cancer from spreading to the brain, to the liver, to the bones.”
With reference to the rate at which the drug was able to show improvement in the patient's lifespan, Dave Frerickson, Executive Vice President of Oncology at AstraZeneca said that it is "a pretty dramatic and remarkable improvement,” reported Reuters.
How Was It Done?
The clinical trial included approximately 680 participants in over 20 countries with the disease at an early stage.
All patients had undergone surgery to have the tumour removed, post which half the patients consumed the drug, while the other half was given a placebo.
According to a press statement released by the pharma major, the drug has already been authorised to several countries and administered to approximately 7,00,000 individuals.
So far, there are no drugs, apart from Tagrisso, that have shown improvement in patients with EGFR-mutated lung cancer.
AstraZeneca is now aiming to provide details surrounding the impact of the drug with chemotherapy, in patients with advanced EGFR-mutated cancer.