New Drug Uses DNA Rather Than Tumor Type to Treat Cancer

The FDA just approved Loxo Oncology’s Vitrakvi drug that treats cancer in an unconventional way.

Cancer Cells in a Tray / Image: Suzanne Plunkett
Cancer Cells in a Tray / Image: Suzanne Plunkett

Most cancer treatments on the market are developed for specific types of cancer and seek approval for that one kind before organizing trials for other cancers. However, a recent Business Insider article discussed a new cancer treatment that focuses on the genetics of the patient. Loxo Oncology developed the drug, Vitrakvi, in partnership with Bayer.

Vitrakvi works for patients whose cancer tests positive for a type of mutation called a gene fusion in a gene called the neurotropic receptor tyrosine kinase, NTRK. For adults, the drug comes in 30-day supplies of 100-milligram capsules, and the cost is $393,600 annually. The liquid oral formulation for children and some adults will cost $121,000 annually. However, Bayer insists the out-of-pocket expense for the majority of patients will be $20 or less.

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