Innovative new lung cancer drug gets U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday gave its approval of a drug for treating non-small cell lung cancer with a specific but common mutation, a potentially groundbreaking development in lung cancer treatment.

The drug, sotorasib, is designed to target a gene mutation known as KRAS G12C. The mutation occurs in about 13% of non-small cell lung cancers.

The medication shrank tumors with the KRAS mutation in roughly 36% of patients during clinical trials.

Developed by California-based biotechnology company Amgen Inc., the drug will be sold under the brand name Lumakras and is expected to have a price tag of $17,900 a month.

Roughly 25,000 U.S. patients a year will be eligible for the drug, says Amgen.

Biotechnology companies such as Amgen are pioneers in experimental drug development and are trailblazers for innovative new ways to treat cancer by targeting the specific gene mutations that cause cancer.

While the FDA has given its approval for a 960mg pill to be taken daily, the agency is requiring that another study be conducted post-approval to determine whether a lower dose might also be effective.

According to the CDC, roughly 225,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the United States. Of these, approximately 85% are non-small cell lung cancer.

As millions of people around the world continue to be affected by lung cancer, fatally in many cases, the development of innovative new ways to treat not just its symptoms but also its biological composition offers hope to many.

As biotechnology continues to develop and improve, the discovery of novel and revolutionary new methods for treating widespread and daunting diseases such as lung cancer after years of research offers potentially groundbreaking options for patients.

Noah Pitcher is a global politics correspondent for Today News Africa covering the U.S. government, United Nations, African Union, and other actors involved in international developments, political controversies, and humanitarian issues.

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