New cancer weapon to be fast-tracked into hospitals | News

Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, has backed “tumour-agnostic” drugsSTEFAN ROUSSEAU/PA

Patients in England could be among the first in the world to receive revolutionary cancer drugs after the NHS chief executive calls for the treatments to be fast-tracked into hospitals.

Simon Stevens believes the “tumour-agnostic” drugs offer “potentially huge” benefits to patients, by providing a new front through which doctors can attack cancers that have often been left behind by research.

The drugs target common mutations in tumours, meaning that rather than being designed for a specific type of cancer — such as breast or prostate — they attack a feature irrespective of location. Two drugs that do this, larotrectinib and entrectinib, are due to come on to the market within months. Both target a mutation found in some cancers that can inhibit growth. The mutation is…

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