ALK+ International is a patient and family-led charity, created with a single mission: to improve the life expectancy for ALK+ cancer patients.
We aim to achieve this by fundraising for ALK+ research, providing grants, advocacy and education. Our team is committed to making a difference and is passionate about our goal.
ALK+ cancer is a type of genetic mutation cancer with no known cause, and no known cure once it has spread to other parts of the body. It is caused by a mutation or fusion of the ALK gene. ALK+ cancers are found in patients of all ages, although on average these patients tend to be younger.
ALK+ lung cancer occurs in approximately 5% of all non small cell lung cancer patients. However, it occurs in approximately 30% of lung cancer patients diagnosed under age 40. Around half of ALK+ lung cancer patients are diagnosed before the age of 50. It is estimated that there are approximately 100,000 ALK+ lung cancer patients diagnosed worldwide every year.
It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 ALK+ lung cancer patients living in the UK. The overall ALK+ figure is likely to be higher, given that ALK+ mutations drive other cancers.
Since the discovery of ALK+ cancer in 2007, there have been incredible advances in the range of life saving treatments. As with other cancers linked with genetic mutations, ALK+ cancer is treated with targeted therapies - a class of drugs that precisely target and inhibit cancer cell growth with considerably fewer side effects than traditional treatments. While this makes ALK+ cancer treatable, it is still incurable. ALK+ patients will develop resistance to their medication or experience further mutations, rendering their treatment ineffective. Research is needed into further treatments, to provide either more targeted therapies or diversify treatment options.