2011-09-01 / Entertainment

U.S. Approves Gene-targeting Lung Cancer Drug

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has approved a new drug from Pfizer for a subset of lung cancer patients with a particular genetic mutation.

About 1 percent to 7 percent of patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer have an abnormal gene that causes tumor growth. Pfizer's drug Xalkori works by blocking proteins produced by the gene.

The twice-a-day pill is the second medication approved by the FDA this year targeting a specific genetic mutation. The drugs are part of a new wave of personalized medicines being developed to treat cancer and other lifethreatening diseases.

The FDA said it also approved a genetic test to screen for patients who have the so- called abnormal anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene.

About 85 percent of lung cancer cases are non-smallcell lung cancer.

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