NHS Approves New Drug Treatment for Children with Common Brain Tumor

The NHS approves a new targeted drug treatment for children with brain tumors, reducing side effects and improving survival time. This breakthrough offers hope for more effective and less toxic treatment.

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Mazhar Abbas
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NHS Approves New Drug Treatment for Children with Common Brain Tumor

NHS Approves Targeted Drug Treatment for Most Common Childhood Brain Tumor

The National Health Service (NHS) in England has approved a new targeted drug treatment for children with the most common type of brain tumor. The combination of dabrafenib and trametinib has been shown to reduce side effects of chemotherapy and improve survival time without disease progression for patients with gliomas that have a specific genetic mutation.

Gliomas are tumors that originate in the glial cells, which support the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. They are the most common type of brain cancer in children, with less than 30% of patients living beyond five years. The new treatment is recommended for children aged one and over with low-grade or high-grade gliomas that have the BRAF V600E mutation.

Clinical trials found that the dabrafenib and trametinib combination extended progression-free survival to an average of over two years for low-grade glioma patients, compared to 7.2 months with previous treatments. For high-grade glioma patients, the median progression-free survival was nine months. The targeted therapy can be taken at home in pill or liquid form, allowing children to spend less time in the hospital receiving chemotherapy.

Why this matters: The approval of this new treatment offers hope for improving outcomes and quality of life for children with brain tumors. By targeting the specific genetic mutation driving tumor growth, this therapy has the potential to be more effective and less toxic than traditional chemotherapy.

The new treatment is expected to benefit around 30 children per year in England. Experts have welcomed the approval as a notable advancement in brain tumor treatment. "This is a major breakthrough in the treatment of childhood brain tumors and means that children will have access to kinder and more effective treatment," said Dr. David Walker, Professor of Paediatric Oncology at the University of Nottingham.

Key Takeaways

  • NHS approves new targeted drug treatment for common childhood brain tumors.
  • Combination of dabrafenib and trametinib reduces side effects, improves survival.
  • Treatment for gliomas with BRAF V600E mutation in children aged 1+.
  • Extends progression-free survival to over 2 years for low-grade gliomas.
  • Experts call it a major breakthrough in childhood brain tumor treatment.