Melbourne researchers say they have discovered a potential breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer and emphysema.
A study by Melbourne’s Hudson Institute of Medical Research has found lung cancer and emphysema could be diagnosed earlier and treated with an existing drug – which could greatly improve patient outcomes.
The study found that the drug, sgp130Fc, is able to halt or slow the progression of lung cancer and emphysema. The team also identified a unique signature that could be used to detect the diseases earlier through a blood test.
Leading researcher Professor Brendan Jenkins said in a press release: “We were surprised to discover that lung cancer and emphysema are so closely linked when they are such different diseases. Emphysema is characterised by the loss of lung tissue and lung cancer by uncontrolled growth of tissue.”
15,000 Australians die from lung diseases each year and this breakthrough offers hope to thousands of sufferers. Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world as well as the leading cause of cancer death in Australia.
The drug is currently undergoing clinical human trials in Europe to fight other diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease.
Professor Jenkins said he is cautiously optimistic about the drug’s potential. – Isabell Greigeritsch
National Cancer Institute X-Ray showing signs of lung cancer from Wikicommons.