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Lung tumour shrunk with drug

11th November 2009

A drug could offer new hope to patients with an inoperable form of lung cancer.

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A team of scientists from Imperial College London say that they have identified a drug which eliminated small cell lung cancer tumours in 50% of mice and blocked the cells’ ability to resist standard chemotherapy treatment.

Following the findings, published in the journal Cancer Research, the ICL team now hope to test the drug in patients.

Lung cancer remains a major killer and the small cell version of the disease – which spreads quickly and affects a fifth of patients – sees only 3% of patients surviving for five years.

While chemotherapy reduces the size of tumours, they often grown back quickly and resist further treatment with the growth hormone FGF-2 seeming to speed the division of cancer cells.

But PD173074 blocks FGF-2 from attaching to tumour cells. Developed in 1988 to stop blood vessels forming around tumours, researchers believe it could be taken in pill form.

Researcher Professor Michael Seckl said: "We urgently need to develop new treatments for this disease.

"We hope to take this drug, or a similar drug that also stops FGF-2 from working, into clinical trials next year to see if it is a successful treatment for lung cancer in humans."

Dr Joanna Owens from the charity Cancer Research UK said: "The early results from this study are impressive but we will need to wait for the results of clinical trials before we will know if the drugs could work for patients."

 

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