The treatment

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The treatment Empty The treatment

Post  internetimm30 on Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:10 am

Hope.It's an all-too-rare word for those who're dealing with lung cancer, but recently came some hopeful news. If your parent or loved one has stage III or stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer (the most common kind), there's a new clinical trial starting this month that you'll want to ask his doctor about.

The treatment is a vaccine called Lucanix, which showed great promise in phase II testing. Half of all the patients who entered the trial with the disease in stable condition lived more than 44 months—more than four times as long as the 10-to-12-month survival rate for patients under the current standard of care. Those with advanced disease doubled their chances of surviving two years. That means if a patient has Stage III or IV lung cancer and qualifies for this trial, he could potentially increase his survival rate from one to almost four years. Who wouldn't want that chance?

The oncologist who ran the trial at Mary Crowley Medical Research Center in Dallas, Texas, was so excited, he commented, "In medical research, you see something like this once in a lifetime."

It's not often we hear encouraging news about lung cancer, which is so debilitating to live with and offers such limited treatment options. A friend put it better than I can: "It feels like my dad's getting sicker and sicker, and there's not much the doctors can do. He's had one lung partially removed, so he has trouble breathing, and the platinum chemotherapy is making him as sick as the cancer itself." That's not the case with this new treatment, which is a vaccine given by injection. In the previous trial, Lucanix didn't cause any significant side effects—the biggest one reported was soreness at the injection site.

It's about time there's some good news about lung cancer, which claims more lives than breast, colon, prostate, and lymph node cancer combined. Unlike many other cancers, survival rates for lung cancer haven't improved in recent years, and 60 percent of those diagnosed die within a year.


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