Neuroblastoma is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in infants younger than age 1 in the United States. About 700 new cases are diagnosed annually with nearly 90 percent of all patients receiving diagnosis by the age of 5. The five-year survival rate for some risk groups is quite high, but those in the highest risk category only have about a 40 to 50 percent chance of survival.
Hoping to offer a better way to attack treatment-resistant forms of the disease, oncologists from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have been testing new measures meant to stop high-risk neuroblastoma in its tracks. The results have been promising, especially in regard to a new agent.
The anticancer drug crizotinib has shown itself useful for treating children with neuroblastoma, researchers have found. Some neuroblastomas, however, have proven resistant to this drug.Crizotinib was introduced for treatment of neuroblastoma following a 2008 discovery of how mutations in the ALK gene can cause rare, inherited forms of neuroblastoma. Crizotinib is a known ALK inhibitor.
Since crizotinib has suffered from resistance, the Philadelphia researchers turned their attentions to a substance known as PF-06463922., also an ALK inhibitor. This agent binds more tightly than crizotinib and has been shown to be more powerful in treating neuroblastoma tumors implanted in mice from human subjects. When the PF agent was introduced, the animal tumors showed fast and sustained regression, researchers noted.
The researcher’s study was published in Cancer Discovery, showing results from preclinical trials. Researchers now hope those trials will lead to a fast-tracking for this drug into more large scale trials to treat children with neuroblastoma.
Just how soon the PF agent might be available for use in treatment is unknown. More extensive clinical trials are hoped to begin soon.
Parents of children diagnosed with neuroblastoma are urged to discuss all treatment options with their healthcare providers. Some forms of this condition are considered quite treatable. The best course of action, however, will hinge on the unique case in question.
By geralt from Pixabay