New Promise Against Certain Types Of Lung Cancer – Part 1 of 3
New Promise Against Certain Types Of Lung Cancer. An speculative cancer drug is proving effective in treating the lung cancers of some patients whose tumors finance a certain genetic mutation, new studies show. Because the mutation can be present in other forms of cancer – including a rare form of sarcoma (cancer of the soft tissue), babyhood neuroblastoma (brain tumor), as well as some lymphomas, breast and colon cancers – researchers say they are hopeful the drug, crizotinib, will prove effective in treating those cancers as well. In one study, researchers identified 82 patients from in the midst 1500 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, the most common type of lung malignancy, whose tumors had a mutation in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene.
Crizotinib targets the ALK “driver kinase,” or protein, blocking its bustle and preventing the tumor from growing, explained study co-author Dr Geoffrey Shapiro, director of the Early Drug Development Center and subsidiary professor of medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston. “The cancer cell is actually addicted to the activity of the protein for its spread and survival. It’s totally dependent on it. The idea is that blocking that protein can kill the cancer cell”.
In 46 patients taking crizotinib, the tumor shrunk by more than 30 percent during an ordinary of six months of taking the drug. In 27 patients, crizotinib halted growth of the tumor, while in one patient the tumor disappeared.
The drug also had few side effects. The most common was demulcent gastrointestinal symptoms. “These are very positive results in lung cancer patients who had received other treatments that didn’t work or worked only briefly. The bottom line is that there was a 72 percent chance the tumor would wither or remain stable for at least six months”.
The study is published in the Oct 28, 2010 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In recent years, researchers have started to cogitate of lung cancer less as a single disease and more as a group of diseases that rely on specific genetic mutations called “driver kinases,” or proteins that enable the tumor cells to proliferate.