In separate studies, researchers have come up with possible treatment options for lung cancer.
Scientists are on their way to treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with gene therapy and nanotechnology. Scientists from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center conducted a study on mice to test whether gene therapy administered through lipid-based nanoparticles can successfully fight tumors. They sent positively charged nanoparticles to the negatively charged cancer cell membrane. When these nanoparticles are taken into the cell, the genes express the tumor suppressing p53 or FUS1 gene depending on the design. The scientists then found that while p53 and FUS1 individually fought well against cancer, they were most effective when combined. The two together bring about apoptosis, a process wherein the cancer cells self-destruct. Since FUS1 hinders the functioning of a gene that destroys p53, the combination therapy caused more cells to die. In the final analysis, the combination caused a 75 per cent reduction in the number of tumors per mouse and a decrease of 80 per cent in the weight of the tumors.
Meanwhile, the lung cancer vaccine Stimuvax that scientists from Cancer Research UK had prepared is now set to enter phase III of its clinical trial. Stimuvax is a therapeutic vaccine that will compel the immune system to kill MUC1, a molecule found in large quantities in tumor cells. This way, no harm will be done to the healthy cells. Merck KgaA will conduct this trial named START (Stimulating Targeted Antigenic Responses To NSCLC). The trial will evaluate the efficacy of Stimuvax in comparison to a placebo. It aims to involve over 1,300 patients across 30 countries. With lung cancer being the most common cancer worldwide, any progress towards its treatment is welcome news.
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