New groundbreaking cancer drug brings hope to patients

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

A new option in the war on cancer is giving patients like Sonya Gordon hope that one day there will be a cure.

"It is absolutely amazing,” said Gordon. “No matter what type of cancer you have, they're always making improvements. And every day that you survive or every year that you survive, it just gives you so much more hope that there's gonna be another drug, they're gonna find the cure, and you're not gonna have to come up here every three weeks."

The new drug is called Vitrakvi, and it won't be cheap; it'll cost around $32,000 for a one-month supply.

Rather than fighting breast cancer, lung cancer or any other specific type of cancer, it's designed to treat cancers that arise anywhere in the body that carry a certain genetic mutation.

"When the study was announced, 22 percent of the patients they had go into complete remission and there was around 80 percent of the patients who responded to the treatment as long as they had that particular fusion in their disease,” Cancer Center of Kansas President Shaker Dakhil explained.

Dakhil says the mutation Vitrakvi works against is rare but says the new drug will force doctors to look for the mutation in every cancer they see.

"Every new discovery it serves new hope for our patient,” said Dakhil. “That's why when I tell my patients' certain statistics, I tell them for the time being because I don't know what's coming up; a major home run might happen."

Michael Riddle has faith in a cure as well. He's been fighting cancer for years. News of the breakthrough drug brings hope.

"Breakthroughs are great,” said Riddle.  

Gordon added, “It gives you the hope that more years is comin' to spend with your family and your kids."

Dakhil says you can be tested to see if the drug is right for you, no matter how long you've had cancer.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE