A new drug developed to fight genetic mutation and thwart cancer cells has been approved by Food and Drug Administration. This new drug with named Vitrakvi is not meant for fighting any particular type of cancer but is instead designed to treat cancers that develop anywhere in the body and carry a particular type of genetic characteristic. Dr. David Hyman of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who was chief of this drug’s early development stated that in traditional cancer treatment focus is on that part of the body from which cancer has developed. Vitrakvi is unique since it works on the whole body regardless of where the cancer has come from as long it has that particular mutation.
Though several cancer drugs based on genetic mutations have been approved in the past Vitrakvi is generically known as larotrectinib is the first one to be approved to treat cancers based solely on mutation. FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb stated that the approval of this drug marks another important shift towards treatment of cancers with concentrated focus on their genetics of the tumors instead of concentrating on the site of their origin within the body. With this drug doctors can now be sure that patients are now getting the right treatment at the right time.
Mr. Gottlieb elaborated that this kind of genetically specific drug would not have been possible a decade ago as there was limited information about cancer mutations. In 2014 the first drug for treating genetic mutation called Keytruda was approved by FDA that was created to treat melanoma that had spread but soon it was discovered that it could treat other tumors that had similar mutations that drove few cases of melanoma. Now this drug is used against several tumors including breast cancer. Vitrakvi treats a different type of genetic mutation that is referred to us NTRK genes as they rarely fuse together and cause out of control tumors.