Ceritinib has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority.
- First approved effective treatment option to address an unmet medical need for patient sub-group
- Result of breakthrough research trials involving NCCS
- NCCS will also be expanding its diagnostic capabilities of lung cancer patients to enable customised treatments.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 85 to 90 per cent of 1.6 million new diagnoses every year.
Approximately eight to 10 per cent of these cases are driven by a rearrangement of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, which increases the growth of cancer cells.
For patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC (ALK+ NSCLC), a sub-group of late-stage lung cancer, disease progression is often inevitable.
As Crizotinib is the only targeted treatment option for these patients, more alternatives are needed to address this unmet medical need.
With Ceritinib, an alternative targeted treatment is now available for patients who have progressed on or are intolerant to Crizotinib.
Ceritinib has been approved by the Health Sciences Authority; it is one of the first few cancer medicines approved locally via a priority review route due to positive results from Phase I and II clinicial trials. National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) is the Singapore arm among 20 centres from nine countries involved in this trial.
“This approval is a testament to the nature of contemporary Phase I clinical trials, where increasingly with rational drug and trial design, we are seeing patients obtaining benefit much earlier,” said Dr Daniel Tan, Consultant from the Department of Medical Oncology at NCCS.
NCCS will also be expanding its diagnostic capabilities of lung cancer patients to enable customised treatments.
“We are conducting trials with multiple ALK inhibitors, as well as new drug combinations such as with immunotherapy.
Targeting specific molecular subgroups of cancers is increasingly recognised as an important strategy to increase the odds of successful drug development,” added Dr Tan.
The Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Unit (Phase I Unit), which is part of the Division of Medical Oncology in NCCS, has been central in the development of such treatments.
The unit is currently conducting 30 to 40 Phase I trials on cutting edge drugs and are enrolling patients from a diverse range of cancer types.