Personalized medicine to save lung cancer patients - Tucson News Now

Personalized medicine to save lung cancer patients

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The way cancer patients are treated is changing dramatically because of work being done here in Tucson. A recent agreement between Ventana medical systems and Pfizer provides a test and drug to fight a deadly form of lung cancer.

1.6 Million people world wide are diagnosed with lung cancer, that's 200,000 in the U.S. Alone.

Until recently the positive reaction to treatment was a dreary 20 percent. Those at Ventana considered that unacceptable.

"The disease of cancer is many genetic diseases within one cancer, so you have to attack all of these different diseases with in one cancer," said Doug Ward the Vice President and General Manager, Ventana.

Right now at Ventana they are looking at one particular gene abnormality that is the cause of five percent of all non-small cell lung cancers.

"This gene actually gets flipped around and that flipping creates the abnormality," said Eric Walk, Chief Medical Officer at Ventana.

In Hiro Nitta's lab he can test for an over production of protein they call ALK. This signifies the gene mutation.

"Brown staining is the ALK protein," explains Nitta.

Patients with this mutation, who take Pfizer drug Xalkori have a 60% response rate on average according to Walk.

"This has been an revolution in career therapy in the last 10 years," said Walk.

In the past drugs that treat such a relatively small form of cancer had a hard time making it to market but walk says 5 percent of lung cancer patients is 10,000 people, and that's enough to find a cure.

"This idea for Ventana started with a commitment to an individual patient and how much information we can provide to them," said Dr. Tom Grogan, Founder of Ventana.

Ventana's approach to personalized medicine is bringing a standardized test and collaborating drug to market in a way that is practical for everyday use, everywhere in the world. Ventana is a Roche company but has recently made six deals with external pharmaceutical drug companies on drug development.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

 

  • Local newsMore>>

  • 10-year-old boy starts house fire on west side

    10-year-old boy starts house fire on west side

    Friday, June 22 2018 9:36 AM EDT2018-06-22 13:36:01 GMT
    (Source: TFD)(Source: TFD)

    A family of six was displaced from their home in the 2200 block of West Painted Sunset Circle after a fire was started by a 10-year-old child. 

    A family of six was displaced from their home in the 2200 block of West Painted Sunset Circle after a fire was started by a 10-year-old child. 

  • Tucson police hope program helps opioid addicts

    Tucson police hope program helps opioid addicts

    Friday, June 22 2018 9:33 AM EDT2018-06-22 13:33:13 GMT
    (Source: KOLD News 13)(Source: KOLD News 13)
    (Source: KOLD News 13)(Source: KOLD News 13)

    Over 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, and in Pima County fatal overdoses have been the No. 1 cause of death for the past three years. In an effort to combat that Tucson police have started a referral and treatment program aimed at helping those who want to stop using.

    Over 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016, and in Pima County fatal overdoses have been the No. 1 cause of death for the past three years. In an effort to combat that Tucson police have started a referral and treatment program aimed at helping those who want to stop using.

  • Action Day: Dangerous heat expected Friday

    Action Day: Dangerous heat expected Friday

    Friday, June 22 2018 8:31 AM EDT2018-06-22 12:31:03 GMT
    (Source: KOLD News 13)(Source: KOLD News 13)

    The Tucson News Now First Alert weather team has called an Action Day for Friday, June 22, because of expected dangerous heat in southern Arizona.

    The Tucson News Now First Alert weather team has called an Action Day for Friday, June 22, because of expected dangerous heat in southern Arizona.

Powered by Frankly