Loxo Scores A Success With Second Targeted Cancer Drug

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Loxo Scores A Success With Second Targeted Cancer Drug

A new medication is showing very positive results for lung cancer.

In 2005, Melissa Crouse, now 64, was about to start a new life. Her children had gone off to college, and she started applying for new jobs in Florida, near her brother. One required a physical, and she found out she had lung cancer. She had chemo, and part of her left lung was removed. But the cancer came back, in her liver, in 2009. She’s since been through multiple clinical trials.

Finally, one of them helped. Her tumor tested positive for a genetic alteration called a RET fusion, in which a gene called RET, short for “rearranged during transfection,” is turned on all the time by being fused to another gene. A new drug, LOXO-292, targeted this genetic defect. And it made Crouse’s cancer shrink.

“I feel better now than I have in a long time,” Crouse says. She can go to the grocery store instead of ordering for deliver and can watch her 5-year-old granddaughter while her daughter runs errands. “Things most people take for granted that I just couldn’t do before, now I can do them.”

The new drug is the latest success story in the area of targeted cancer therapy that can help patients with very specific mutations, and the second such drug for LOXO-292’s maker, Loxo Oncology, which is asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve a medicine it developed against a different gene. It also sets up a duel between Loxo and another biotechnology firm, Blueprint Medicines, which showed off data from another RET drug in April.

In data presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, 77% of patients with RET-fusions studied (30 with non-small cell lung cancer, 7 with thyroid cancer, and 2 with pancreatic cancer) had their tumors shrink enough on the drug to call it a response. The median response was similar whether the patients had lung cancer or another tumor. Tumors shrank in 45% of 22 patients with medullary thyroid cancer who had mutations in the RET gene.

Read on: Loxo Scores A Success With Second Targeted Cancer Drug

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