The NHS is preparing to fast-track the introduction of ‘game changing’ new cancer drugs that target tumours according to their genetic make-up. These revolutionary new treatments, called ‘tumour agnostic’ drugs, can be used against a wide range of cancers and could offer hope to patients with rare cancers that may previously have been untreatable.
Tumour agnostic drugs target the genetic mutations that accelerate the growth of many types of tumours, and have particular benefits for children. The first of these new types of drug is set to come on to the market within months.
The genetics of the tumour are used to decide which treatments may be best for an individual with cancer. This is called personalised medicine. Molecular testing is therefore the first and essential element of planning treatment.
It is anticipated that around 850 patients a year could benefit from the the first tumour agnostic treatments, and eventually many thousands a year are expected to be treated.
As part of its Long Term Plan, the NHS is planning to launch a new Genomic Medicine Service to ensure access to cutting-edge genomic technologies. It is expected this will enable patients who will benefit most from targeted and personalised medicines to be identified, and treated, quicker.