Two hospitals have opened clinical trials for patients with advanced-stage cancers that carry a specific gene mutation, known as a KRAS G12C.

Danbury Hospital has a trial for those with advanced metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and Norwalk Hospital has a trial for patients with certain types of solid tumors, such as advanced colorectal cancers.

Danbury and Norwalk hospitals are part of the Nuvance Health system.

The clinical trials are studying a new drug called AMG 510. According to a news release from Nuvance, there’s been evidence showing that the drug blocks KRAS G12C, a variant of KRAS, which is key to the growth of many cancers.

“KRAS is a gene that, when it becomes mutated during cancer development, makes the cancer grow and resistant to treatment,” said Dr. Richard Frank, director of clinical cancer research for Nuvance Health, medical oncologist/hematologist at Norwalk Hospital, and consultant in the gastrointestinal oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Chemists have been trying to target KRAS for at least 30 years.”

Frank said, to his knowledge, AMG 510 is the first drug that has been an effective treatment. That means it could offer relief for patients with advanced cancer who have not had success with other treatments.

Genomic profiling — which can be ordered by a patient’s oncologist — can determine whether a tumor has a KRAS G12C mutation. Danbury and Norwalk hospitals encourage any cancer patient with a KRAS G12C mutation to contact the hospitals about the clinical trials.

The drug is produced by Amgen, a biopharmaceutical company based in California

Danbury and Norwalk hospitals are enrolling patients in the AMG 510 clinical trials. For more information, contact Nuvance Health Oncology Research at 203-739-7997 or officeofclinicaltrials@nuvancehealth.org.