A groundbreaking study has revealed that the lung cancer drug Alecensa, developed by Roche Holding AG, has achieved a significant triumph over standard chemotherapy. The Swiss pharmaceutical company is now turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to identify patients who can […]
A groundbreaking study has revealed that the lung cancer drug Alecensa, developed by Roche Holding AG, has achieved a significant triumph over standard chemotherapy. The Swiss pharmaceutical company is now turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to identify patients who can benefit from this drug.
According to the primary analysis published on Wednesday, Alecensa reduced the risk of cancer recurrence or death by 76% when administered after lung tumor removal surgery, compared to standard chemotherapy. Dr. Levi Garraway, Chief Medical Officer at Roche, stated that this medication has the potential to “change the course of this disease.”
However, finding eligible patients for treatment can be challenging. The study focused on individuals with a genetic mutation called ALK, which is found in only 4% to 5% of lung cancer patients. Most of these patients are younger and less likely to be smokers compared to typical lung tumor patients, often resulting in delayed diagnosis.
To address this issue, Roche will collaborate with Medial EarlySign Ltd., an Israeli tech company, to utilize AI in assisting doctors in determining when to use CT scans. Although the current technology, known as LungFlag, cannot detect patients with ALK-positive tumors, the company announced on Saturday that it is actively researching how to expand its application to benefit these patients as well.
“This will help identify tumors before they spread and while surgery is still a viable option,” said Charlie Fuchs, Head of Roche’s Oncology and Hematology Drug Development Division. Fuchs further explained, “Using deep data analysis, we sometimes find things that identify non-smokers at risk. We hope that more patients will be detected early and benefit from this.”
Roche has stated that it will submit the study’s results to regulatory authorities for approval. The complete study findings were presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology in Madrid on Saturday. Alecensa has already been approved for patients with ALK-positive metastatic lung cancer in the United States, Europe, Japan, and China.
Analysts anticipate Alecensa’s sales to reach 1.56 billion Swiss francs ($1.75 billion) this year. Fuchs emphasized that this demonstrates the scientific and financial success of the drug, despite its utilization in such a small number of lung cancer patients.