The pill, crizotinib,
is known to act on a specific cancer gene mutation, chiefly found in females in
the age group of 30 to 50 years. It blocks the cancer cell signals and prevents
further spread of the cancer.
Prof. Katia Boleti,
Consultant Oncologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, mentioned,
"These are young people with families, whose lives can be devastated by
such a diagnosis."
Boleti added, "To
be able to give them a drug they can take at home on a daily basis so they can
spend more time with their loved ones is extremely important."
observed that around 1,000 Britons who had ALK protein and have undergone
chemotherapy can benefit from the crizotinib, a drug developed by Pfizer.
Crizotinib is one of
the many 'personalized pill' treatments that can treat cancer rather than the
classical blanket approach offered by general chemotherapy.
Recent research has
shown that this treatment can raise life expectancy from 3 to 7.7 months.
Fennell, the Chair of Thoracic Oncology at the University Hospitals of
Leicester, stated, "It pulls the plug on the cancer and it cannot survive",
and "It is like taking the key out of the ignition so it cannot work".
"The results are remarkable. We are talking about some patients who are
too ill to have chemotherapy".
The researchers were
happy to see the result of the pills. After few weeks of treatment, the cancer
patients were able to walk up the hills and the mothers were in a position to
spend quality time with their kids.
Though crizotinib is
priced at £4,689 per month as compared to £1,200 for chemotherapy, its
effectiveness in reducing further spread of cancer cells makes it a better
However, some scientists say that it is not a
good reason for celebration as such drugs put economic burden on the family as
they do not completely cure the ailment.