A form of inoperable lung cancer that kills most sufferers could be combated by a drug that destroys tumours.
The drug causes the tumours to self destruct after blocking their growth in a form of lung cancer which claims the lives of more than nine out of 10 sufferers. Trials revealed no side affects of the treatment which killed all traces of the disease in over 50% of trials, the journal Cancer Research reported.
“If you get diagnosed with this cancer your chances of surviving are very small. Over the last 30 years we have made very little progress in its treatment,” said Professor Michael Seckl, the leader of the study at Imperial College London.
All but 3% of sufferers with the virulent strain of the disease, called small cell lung cancer, die within five years of diagnosis. It is normally difficult to remove tumours surgically as they spread quickly so it is treated with chemotherapy.
However, although the size of tumours are initially reduced and the treatment seems to work, they usually grow back quickly and resist further treatment. The new drug is able to shrink tumours and allow other forms of chemotherapy to work successfully.
Copyright Press Association 2009