New therapy for colorectal cancer

New therapy for colorectal cancer

 The U S Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first personalised therapy -- cetuximab (Erbitux) to treat colorectal cancer.

In India, almost 42,340 people suffer from colorectal cancer (CRC).

CRC is a cancer that develops in the colon or the rectum, both parts of the large
intestine. Till now it is being managed by three drugs: irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin.  

With the new drug in market, patients of CRC will receive personalised therapy.
“For an individual a colorectal cancer is one cancer.

But for an oncologist it is a group of many cancers. Drugs which target one group form part of personalised therapy,” said Dr Ashok Vaid, chairman, medical oncology and haematology, Medanta Cancer Institute.

He said KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog) is a protein present in the human body. It is one of the factors of CRC. If it is not mutated, then the new drug is applicable effectively.

The USFDA says the new drug should be used in combination with chemotherapy. Erbitux is a biologic drug, which means it is a man-made version of naturally-occurring body proteins, and hence considered safer than other therapies.

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