Personalized medicine for cancer has another player – targeted small molecule inhibitors like tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). At the most recent ASCO meeting, AstraZeneca presented data for a TKI, Tagrisso, with a remarkable survival benefit to NSCLC patients following surgical resection of their tumors.
What are Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors?
One of the central challenges of drugging cancer cells is their similarity to healthy cells. The biochemical pathways that allow for cancer’s uncontrolled growth are the same pathways that regulate normal cell proliferation. Targeted therapies are thus one of the most important tools in an oncologist’s toolbox – these are therapies that are able to selectively interfere with pathways in abnormal, cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells largely unharmed.
A class of small molecule inhibitors called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are able to do just that. Tyrosine kinases are enzymes involved in key regulatory steps for a number of growth-related pathways. Over the past 20 years, numerous TKIs have been successfully developed that are specific to their growth pathway target. Targets include EGFR, VEGFR, HER2, and more.
Extraordinary New Data for AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso for Lung Cancer Treatment
One such TKI drug, Tagrisso (osimertinib), has proven particularly effective. New data from AstraZeneca, the maker of Tagrisso, showed a 51% reduced risk of death for patients given Tagrisso after surgical resection of EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). What this means is that one out of every ten patients that received the drug after surgery would live at least another five years.
EGFR is one of the most commonly mutated pathways in cancer, and Tagrisso appears to be more effective than previous EGFR inhibitors at selectively targeting the mutated pathway. Tagrisso also appears to be better at entering the central nervous system, helping to prevent deadly metastases in the brain or spinal cord. These data from the ADAURA clinical trial were presented at the most recent American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.
The Future of Targeted Cancer Therapies
Researchers were surprised and buoyed by the news that a targeted small-molecule therapy could have such a pronounced survival benefit. Changes in cancer treatment going forward could include the use of these targeted inhibitors earlier in treatment rather than exclusively following surgery or in late-stage disease.
This also serves as yet another validation for personalized medicine, where the genetic signature of a patient’s tumor can indicate the best course of treatment. More precise treatments combined with robust genetic diagnostic pipelines are already revolutionizing the field of medicine, both in cancer treatment and beyond.
Outsourcing Bioinformatics Analysis: How Bridge Informatics Can Help
Groundbreaking progress in drug development, including targeted cancer therapies, is made possible by technological advances making biological data generation, storage, and analysis faster and more accessible than ever before. From pipeline development and software engineering to deploying existing bioinformatics tools, Bridge Informatics can help you on every step of your research journey.
As experts across data types from leading sequencing platforms, we can help you tackle the challenging computational tasks of storing, analyzing, and interpreting genomic and transcriptomic data. Bridge Informatics’ bioinformaticians are trained bench biologists, so they understand the biological questions driving your computational analysis. Click here to schedule a free introductory call with a member of our team.
Jane Cook, Biochemist & Content Writer, Bridge Informatics
Jane Cook, a leading Content Writer for Bridge Informatics, has written over 100 articles on the latest topics and trends for the bioinformatics community. Jane’s broad and deep interdisciplinary molecular biology experience spans developing biochemistry assays to genomics. Prior to joining Bridge, Jane held research assistant roles in biochemistry research labs across a variety of therapeutic areas. While obtaining her B.A. in Biochemistry from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Jane also studied journalism at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. As a native Texan, she embraces any challenge that comes her way. Jane hails from Dallas but returns to Ireland any and every chance she gets. If you’re interested in reaching out, please email [email protected] or [email protected].