Drug to treat tough cancer soon

Drug to treat tough cancer soonFor one of the world's hardest-to-treat cancers, an effective treatment could finally be on the way.

According to Australian and international researchers, blocking drugs already exist as they had found it was linked to a gene mutation.

To find out if they can be safely used in people with squamous cell lung cancer, the discovery means clinical trials using the drugs will start next year.

Experts are optimistic because tumors in mice had shrunk significantly after one of the drugs was already tried in mice seeded with human lung cancer cells.

Due to lung cancer being generally one of the hardest malignancies to treat, as well as one of the most common, it would represent a huge advance if the drugs live up to their promise and prove safe and effective in humans.

Latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that with 9703 diagnoses, lung cancer was the sixth-most common cancer in 2007. But claiming 7626 lives in that year, it was by far the most deadly.

Gavin Wright, the director of surgical oncology at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne and head of the Australian research team, said, “Squamous cell lung cancers were particularly hard to treat.”

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