St. Jude’s Contribution to a New Class of ALK-Inhibiting Cancer Drugs

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Stephan W. Morris, MD, Department of Pathology member from 1988-2012, talks about St. Jude's contribution to ALK-inhibiting cancer drugs, like Xalkori (crizotinib).
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 2012

The ALK gene was discovered (SJ-93-0002) in the 1990s by St. Jude scientists searching for genes affected by a chromosomal change common in the cancer cells of pediatric patients with anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). This discovery led to issued patents that were licensed to develop therapeutics for treatment of adult lung cancers. So far two ALK inhibitor drugs have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Over 200,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Current estimates are approximately 3-5% (6,500 to 11,000) patients with non-small cell lung cancer carry the ALK rearrangement and may be candidates for treatment with the drugs:

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