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New hope of survival for GIST cancer sufferers.

Byline: By MADELEINE BRINDLEY Western Mail

A cancer drug which treats different types of the disease will be launched today. Sutent has been designed as a treatment for advanced kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) and is intended for use when other drugs fail. This will be the first time a cancer treatment has been launched for two types of the disease simultaneously in the UK.

The drug, developed by Pfizer, targets biological signalling pathways fundamental to tumour survival. Its launch is being hailed as a significant step forward for the estimated 6,600 kidney cancer and 900 GIST patients who are diagnosed each year in the UK.

Martin Gore, Professor of Cancer Medicine at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said, 'Until now, the options available for people with advanced kidney cancer have been very limited.

'However, in clinical trials, approximately 42% of patients had a response to Sutent and median progression-free survival was 8.2 months.

'The emerging Sutent data is very exciting and already represents a significant, important new advance in the treatment of kidney cancer.'

Mick Coleman, a former senior lecturer in nursing at Swansea University, was one of the patients who helped to test the drug. The 49-year-old was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2001 and remained cancer-free for two years after the organ was removed.

Experts later found tumours on the father-of-two's lungs, which were treated with immunotherapy, three injections a day, four times a week.

He said, during the initial eight-week course, his life was non-existent.

But, after the second course, Mr Coleman stopped responding to immunotherapy and was enrolled in November 2005 on the Sutent trial.

Mr Coleman said, 'It has given me about eight months of good-quality life I wouldn't have had otherwise. Everyone should have this opportunity.

'I am one of the lucky ones. There is a lot of ignorance about kidney cancer, both with the public and with the medical professionals. 'The treatment of this condition is specialised and it's important to be seen by an expert who is familiar with what is a relatively rare cancer.' Dr Sangeeta Jethwa, Pfizer's senior medical adviser, said, 'Sutent is a major step forward for patients with advanced GIST and kidney cancer who have no other treatment options and we hope further clinical trials will demonstrate its potential.'
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 31, 2006
Words:386
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