A miracle drug is beginning to light up the lives of thousands of cancer patients, with hope for treating two severe cancers of the kidney and the gut. Initial examinations of the drug have left a clue of its future use in breast, lung and pancreatic cancers.
This drug called Sutent, nicknamed as the "smart" drug works by nipping an important enzyme that causes the cells to proliferate rapidly, as is the case in some cancers. Further Sutent ensures that tumors run dry of nutrients, thus curbing its growth and development. This is perhaps the first drug of its kind that comprises a dual action.
Paul Nathan, a consultant oncologist at Mount Vernon Cancer Center in Northwood, Northwest London, said: "We have a couple of hundred new kidney cancer patients each year. I'd expect to treat about 50 each year with Sutent. This drug and others like it, we think, are a very major advance in the treatment of this disease."
Judith Robinson, from the charity GIST Support UK, said: "Sutent is the first drug shown to be effective in patients with advanced GIST where the current standard of care has failed. For patients it can offer precious extra months of life."
Presently the license for Sutent entails its use in treating kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). This drug is not easy on the pocket, costing about £2,400 per patient on a monthly basis. There is concern that the high cost of this drug might cause NHS to be careful in its use.