FDA Approves New Cancer Drug from Bayer

It's a new way of attacking cancer

Fred Bodimer
December 05, 2018 - 1:46 pm
Medicine pills

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — The FDA approves a new cancer drug based on molecular profiling. 

What that means is this new drug targets cancers based on DNA, rather than where the tumor is in your body. 

"This new medication actually goes after that specific DNA or genetic fusion to make the cancer stop growing," SLUCare's Dr. Theresa Schwartz told KMOX Health Editor Fred Bodimer. "Looking at the genetics of all cancers, looking at the tumor biology and the DNA makeup, is definitely the future for all drugs developments for cancer treatment.

Dr. Schwartz, who is a breast cancer surgeon at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, explains that this new drug has been successfully tested in patients with that rare genetic mutation in lung, colon, breast and thyroid cancers among others.

"They haven't done it on that many patients, because this type of fusion is rare, but for the early results we're seeing, it does a great job of stopping tumor progression altogether."

The drug, called Vitrakvi, comes with a high price tag of nearly $400,000 a year, but drugmaker Bayer says it will offer financial assistance to help patients afford the drug -- reducing the out of pocket cost to $20 a month for most patients.