Thursday, December 29, 2016

British star with cancer receiving gene therapy based on Chinese ancestry

"“In short, I had originally been told, that the only option available to me was 6 rounds of palliative chemotherapy,” [Leah Bracknell] continued. “We asked about trials, and was told NO, that it was unlikely I’d be eligible. We asked about targeted therapy and were told compatibility rates are low, less than 10% and usually it is female, non-smokers who are Asian.

“But thanks to my extremely Chinese mother, I hoped that perhaps this could give me a break, a chance, a lifeline, a glimmer of hope.

I recently received the news that we had all been praying for: the biopsy revealed a match for the EGFR mutation, and I was able to start on targeted biological therapy, here in the UK on the NHS a couple of weeks ago. You take it daily as a tablet, it works by targeting the cancer cells directly, so the rest of the body and immune system is less compromised, and side effects are considerably eased in the majority of cases.”"


Amartel said...

So I think this article is saying that there are biological therapy trials for cancer that are racially targeted for maximum effectiveness and this woman got (very) lucky to find one in the UK targeted to persons of Chinese heritage? Am I reading that correctly? This article is preoccupied with the celebrity aspect and not enough explanation about the actual therapy.

Rabel said...

Gefitinib possibly. I don't think she is actually in a clinical trial but simply found a doctor who recognized that gefitinib treatment had shown better results with persons of East Asian ancestry. Her prognosis is still pretty bleak.

I am a Doctor of Love, not Medicine.

Amartel said...

Thanks, Rabel LD.

deborah said...

Amartel, don't know. I recently was reading up on targeted(?) therapy, and it seems like they're noticing which cancer strains are reacting particularly well to which drugs.

But yes, it looks like she's not in a trial, just lucked into finding a drug that happened to benefit a specific cancer gene in people of a certain ancestry. 10% chance is a godsend at this point.