Federal officials approved a new drug Friday for last-ditch treatment of the deadliest cancer of all -advanced lung cancer.
The drug, called Keytruda, uses the body’s immune system to fight tumors. It’s already been approved for melanoma and the new approval speeds the way for insurers to pay for it for lung cancer patients.
The Food and Drug Administration approval links the drug to a test. The test tells doctors if patients have the genetic mutation that the drug targets.
“Our growing understanding of underlying molecular pathways and how our immune system interacts with cancer is leading to important advances in medicine,” said FDA’s Dr. Richard Pazdur. “Today’s approval of Keytruda gives physicians the ability to target specific patients who may be most likely to benefit from this drug.”
Keytruda, also called pembrolizumab, is tailored to fight tumors that a faulty function in a pathway known as PD-1/PD-L1.
“By blocking this pathway, Keytruda may help the body’s immune system fight the cancer cells,” the FDA said.
A similar drug called Opdivo, or nivolumab, was approved earlier this year. They’re both monoclonal antibodies – lab-engineered immune system proteins that help the body attack and kill tumors. Both are expected to cost about $12,500 a month each.
Read full article: FDA Approves New Immune Therapy Drug Keytruda For Lung Cancer – NBC News