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Groundbreaking New Drug Therapy for Childhood Brain Cancer Approved by NHS in England: Dabrafenib with Trametinib Extends Survival and Reduces Side-Effects

The NHS in England will provide a new targeted drug therapy called dabrafenib with trametinib to children with brain tumors, specifically gliomas.
This treatment has been shown to halt tumor growth for over three times longer than standard chemotherapy, according to a study.

Charities consider this a major breakthrough as the standard chemotherapy can be harsh, with side effects including weight loss, seizures, and headaches.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has given the go-ahead for this kinder drug therapy.

A study found that the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib effectively halted the growth of tumors in children with low-grade gliomas having a specific genetic mutation, called BRAF V600E, for over three times longer than standard chemotherapy.

This treatment also improved children's response rate to treatment and survival time without the disease progressing.

The treatment, which can be taken at home, targets proteins made by the altered BRAF gene, responsible for uncontrollable tumor growth.

Initially, it will be available on the NHS in England for children aged one to 17 with low- or high-grade gliomas having this mutation.

This treatment causes fewer side-effects compared to chemotherapy.

Gliomas are brain or spinal cord tumors that can be low or high grade.

In the UK, approximately 180 children are diagnosed with these tumors annually, with about 40 having high-grade gliomas.

Low-grade gliomas grow slowly, and clinical trials have shown that their growth can be stalled for an average of 24.9 months with treatment, which is over three times longer than standard chemotherapy and has fewer side effects.
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