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New hope for lung cancer patients

February 23, 2010

Found in Lung cancer

BC Cancer Agency researchers have had another breakthrough, which will be published online today by the international journal Clinical Cancer Research.

The study focuses on faster identification of chemotherapy treatments which are most likely to be successful for patients with non-small cell lung cancer(as well as identifying the ones that are less likely to be successful).

The study was led by BC Cancer Agency Senior Scientist Dr. Yuzhuo Wang, whose team used one patient’s lung tumour sample to observe the response to three different chemotherapy regimens.  They obtained results in six to eight weeks – fast enough to be a predictive test for the patient.

As you may know, lung cancer is still the number one cause of cancer deaths worldwide.  And non-small cell lung cancer is responsible for 80 per cent of those deaths (even though it represents just 20 per cent of cases).

Many non-small cell cancer patients respond really poorly to the treatments we have available today, and because the treatments are highly toxic, if one’s not successful, you can’t try another.

Up until now, clinicians are basically making educated guesses as to which treatment they think will be the most successful.  But now, thanks to this test, they can actually run a simulation on the patient’s tumour tissue first, and know for an almost certain fact which one will be the most successful.

This is another big step towards truly personalized medicine and gives us all reason for optimism for the future of cancer care.  But we still have a long way to go.

Dr. Wang’s enterprising research has long been supported by BC Cancer Foundation donors, and is another example of how the BC Cancer Agency is improving the lives of cancer patients every day.

You can read more about this breakthrough here.

Warm regards,