UAE becomes only second country in world to approve key lung cancer drug

Lumakras targets tumours with specific mutations - and studies have shown it to shrink them by up to 36 per cent

Lung cancer is responsible for seven per cent of all UAE cancer cases, 90 per cent of which are caused by smoking. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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The UAE has become only the second country in the world to approve the use of a key lung cancer drug.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention licensed Lumakras following its recent approval by US Food and Drug Administration.

This step will give lung cancer patients in the UAE early access to the drug to help speed up their treatment and improve the quality of their life.

Lumakras is a tablet prescribed to adult patients who have received at least one previous cancer therapy.

It targets non-small cell lung cancer whose tumours have a specific type of genetic mutation called Kras G12C.

Up to 85 per cent of lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer, while metastatic means it has spread.

In a study of the drug's effectiveness encompassing 124 patients, 36 per cent had their tumours shrink or disappear.

It comes a week after the UAE has approved emergency use of Sotrovimab - a highly effective new treatment for Covid-19.

Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary at the ministry's public health policy and licenses section, said the approval of the cancer drug aims to provide patients with the best treatment, reduce the number of cases, ease the burden on the healthcare system and result in fewer patients needing to be sent abroad.

Ahmed Mostafa, of drug manufacturer Amgen, said it was a proud moment.

"Lumakras is a unique and unprecedented treatment," he said. "We are also very grateful to the Ministry of Health and Prevention for their painstaking efforts, approach and vision in ensuring the immediate availability of the new and innovative medicine in the UAE."

Lung cancer is responsible for seven per cent of all UAE cancer cases, 90 per cent of which are caused by smoking.

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