About ALK+ Lung Cancer
We understand that being diagnosed with lung cancer is the beginning of a difficult journey. But you are not alone on this journey, in addition to your friends and family, your healthcare team is there for you, guiding the way through treatment and therapy.
We at Xcovery made it our aim to improve the lives of cancer patients like you, by discovering and developing innovative medicines to fight the disease. Our passion is to bring back humanity to cancer treatment and with this, we are committed to improving the lives of patients with enhanced therapies.
What is ALK+ Lung Cancer?
Lung cancer is not one single disease, but in fact there are many different types. The two major types are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and small cell lung cancer (SCLC). NSCLC is the most common form, making up 85-90% of all cases. There are also different forms of NSCLC that can be differentiated by the type of cells they contain and their genetic make-up. Cancer cells harbor diverse genetic alterations, which help them grow. It is these alterations that also make the tumors vulnerable to specific, so-called “targeted” medicines.
Contrary to common belief, lung cancer is not always associated with smoking; non-smokers can also be affected. This is especially true for ALK+ (Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase positive) lung cancer, as many of the patients have never or only lightly smoked. In this form of the disease, the ALK fusion gene, a component in the lung cells, is abnormally activated. This can cause the cells to grow and develop without control, which can lead to cancer. The reason for this activation is an alteration of the ALK gene. In ALK+ lung cancer, the ALK gene is fused to the EML4 gene, which results in the production of a new protein called EML4-ALK. This fusion protein functions in the same way as the ALK protein, but it is active when it shouldn’t be.
What is Ensartinib?
ALK is not active in most adult tissues and organs; therefore cells with active ALK can be identified as cancer cells and be differentiated from healthy cells. This makes ALK an attractive target. Ensartinib is a targeted drug that specifically blocks ALK and, with this, may prevent the cancer cells from growing, whereas healthy cells remain largely unaffected. Due to this targeted approach, the goal of ensartinib is to provide a treatment with lower toxicity and fewer side effects than
other treatments. Ensartinib is given orally; this is beneficial for the quality of life of patients, as the drug can be taken at home, unlike therapies that are administered by injections or infusions. We are currently conducting clinical studies to evaluate the safety of ensartinib and to see how ALK+ lung tumors respond to this medication. Based on previous research, we think that ensartinib has the potential to block ALK more strongly than other available treatments.