The development of cancer drugs is a major area of research and development. New research is bringing new therapies to patients, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies. These therapies are part of an ever-growing toolbox of oncologists, who must choose a drug that will help them fight cancer. New cancer drugs are evaluated by the Optum Rx National Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee, which consist of independent physician providers who evaluate each new drug.
Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first KRAS-targeted cancer therapy — sotorasib (Lumakras), made by the biotechnology firm Amgen in Thousand Oaks, California. “It is hope in a pill,” says Conneran, who has received funding from the pharmaceutical industry to support her group. “We have patients alive today as a result.” A second KRAS-targeted drug is expected to be approved this year.
For instance, the drug Lumakras targets the KRAS gene, a mutation that occurs in about 13% of non-small cell lung cancers and a slightly smaller percentage of solid tumors. Lumakras is an oral pill that is much safer than chemotherapy. It was recently approved for advanced lung cancer patients with a KRAS mutation. The drug was approved by the FDA under the accelerated pathway, which expedites the approval process for cancer drugs.
Lumakras, a new drug from Amgen, is the first to target a previously untargetable mutation in KRAS, the gene that causes cancer. The drug targets the KRAS G12C mutation, which occurs in 13% of patients with advanced NSCLC. In clinical trials, Lumakras reduced tumor size by over 30%.
In addition to crizotinib, the EGFR TKIs alectinib and lorlatinib are also used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. These drugs are more effective than chemotherapy for this type of cancer and can extend the patient’s life. The drugs may be combined with chemotherapy or immunotherapy.
Cancer drugs come with a wide range of side effects, with most being mild and temporary. Some may cause skin, hair, nail, or eye problems. It is important to communicate with your healthcare team if you are experiencing side effects to get the best treatment. There may be other drugs, herbs, and supplements that interact with cancer drugs.
Some of the most common cancer drugs available today are chemotherapy drugs. The treatment you choose will depend on your personal circumstances and the type of cancer you have. Your healthcare team will carefully consider your needs and determine the most effective drug to treat your condition. They may also recommend other treatment options. If you have multiple types of cancer, it is important to talk with your healthcare team about your treatment options.
Recurrent cancer is a type of cancer that comes back after treatment. It may come back at the same place as the original cancer or may spread to a distant location. It is most likely to occur in stage IV cancer, but it can also appear in nearby areas. Cancer recurrence usually requires new testing to find a better treatment.
In addition to the physical effects of cancer drugs, cancer patients must also consider the emotional, social, and financial effects of the treatments they are receiving. Palliative care is a type of treatment that aims to manage these side effects. Symptoms such as pain, nausea, and vomiting are treated with different medications.