A Kenyan hospital on Tuesday, February 7, announced the discovery of a single pill that can stop the escalation of a cancer-spreading gene.
Agha Khan Hospital, Nairobi, told journalists that their cancer treatment procedures, under precision oncology, are able to carry out molecular profiling of tumors to identify targetable alterations.
Dr Mansoor Saleh explained that Agha Khan is currently the only hospital that is able to stop the mutation of a cancer-causing gene known as KRAS.
"We began a test for a drug that blocks a specific genetic mutation in cancer patients of K-RAS G12 C.
"A third of cancer cases have the K-RAS G12 C mutation, and this particular drug is able to block the mutation of the gene.
"The hope is that it will completely shrink the mutation, and the tumour to a point where it will be manageable for other treatments," Dr Mansoor Saleh explained.
K-RAS is a housekeeping gene that provides instructions for cancer cells to mutate rapidly under specific conditions in the body.
The rapid growth can, therefore, be stopped by the deactivation of K-RAS gene, through the application of the Agha Khan University Hospital's drug.
The hospital noted that when the test trial is complete, the drug will be duly registered by the regulatory authority.
"This particular drug blocks the mutations from occurring, and the tumours from growing in the bodies of the patients," Dr Mansoor Saleh further explained.
Agha Khan University Hospital carried out the same precision oncology on a patient who expressed his hopes for the new medicine.
"Even though I'm still weak, I feel better, and know that I will get well through the medication that I am currently taking," a patient noted.
The treatment involves genomic testing on the patient in order to establish the strength of the cells and their mutation capacity.
"It involves many stakeholders working in a coordinated fashion to deliver high-quality tissue samples to high-quality laboratories, where appropriate next-generation sequencing (NGS) molecular analysis leads to actionable results," Oncology Magazine explained.
However, the Agha Khan University Hospital's drug in particular aims to stop the aggressive spread of cancer cells through the deactivation of K-RAS gene.
"The KRAS gene belongs to a class of genes known as oncogenes. When mutated, oncogenes have the potential to cause normal cells to become cancerous," Dr Mansoor Saleh explained.