Health Watch -- New Lung Cancer Treatment

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A new drug may help fight some forms of lung cancer.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas are starting a study to test the effectiveness of an experimental drug to treat non-small cell lung cancer. UT Southwestern is currently the only institution in the world conducting clinical trials of this drug.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and it's a difficult cancer to treat. The five-year survival rate for all forms of lung cancer is about 15 percent. Most lung cancer can be divided into small-cell types and non-small cell types, based on their size and response to treatment. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form. It's slower growing, but less likely to respond to chemotherapy.

The UT Southwestern study will test an oral experimental drug in conjunction with radiation therapy. Later stages of the study may increase the drug dosage. This new drug has already been proven effective against other kinds of cancer, including prostate and ovarian cancer.

Researchers hope this drug will have fewer side effects than the drugs currently being used. Current drugs have to be given intravenously, while the new drug is readily absorbed when taken by mouth.

The trial will span a year to a year and a half, and is designed to determine not only how effective the treatment is, but also the best dosage.


Oct. 2004

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