Protective drug for lung cancer patients shows positive early results

23 March 2011

Researchers in the US have been investigating the use of an experimental, oral drug that could help protect patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer against the adverse side effects of radiotherapy.

The new drug, known as manganese superoxide dismutase plasmid liposome, appears to protect healthy tissue against the effects of radiation exposure, according to scientists from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Writing in the journal Human Gene Therapy, lead researcher Professor Joel Greenberger, chair of the university's Department of Radiation Oncology, said: "If we can sufficiently protect tissues that are normal, we should be able to deliver our cancer treatments more effectively and perhaps even at higher doses."

He added: "Our aim is to improve the quality of life of patients by minimising side effects while providing the best treatment for their cancers."

The small scale study involved ten patients with inoperable stage III non-small cell lung cancer.

Professor Greenberger and his team are hoping to expand the study and investigate the drug's effects in patients with other types of cancer.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Greenberger, Joel et al. "Experimental Radioprotective Drug Safe for Lung Cancer Patients, Says University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Study". Human Gene Therapy. Tuesday, March 22nd 2011.

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