A new tablet doubles the life expectancy in females with lung cancer and is regarded as the 'most exciting types of treatments' so far.
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.
AdvertisementProf. 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."
The scientists 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.
Professor Dean 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".
Fennell said, "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 choice.
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.