News / Health

Gene Tests May Improve Lung Cancer Care

Gene Tests May Improve Lung Cancer Carei
X
Carol Pearson
May 31, 2014 2:37 AM
Nearly a million people die every year from lung cancer, and the World Health Organization expects the death rate to go up as more people take up cigarette smoking. As VOA's Carol Pearson reports, researchers may have made an important step toward controlling this disease and extending lives.

Gene Tests May Improve Lung Cancer Care

Carol Pearson
Nearly a million people die every year from lung cancer, and the World Health Organization expects the death rate to rise as more people take up cigarette smoking. Researchers may have made an important step toward controlling this disease and extending lives.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for most lung cancers. Studies have established that connection. Others have established that inhaling toxins from someone else's cigarettes can also cause the disease.

Nearly 1 million people die from lung cancer every year. Another 600,000 die from second-hand smoke. And, until recently, the treatment all patients received was the same chemotherapy. Sometimes it helped, but sometimes it didn't. Researchers have been trying to come up with better treatments to shrink the tumors without affecting normal tissue or subjecting patients to the negative side-effects of chemotherapy.

One new treatment relies on a test to identify damaged genes called oncogenes that allow cancer cells to grow and spread.

Oncologist Mark Kris from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center led a study that examined the role oncogenes play in the spread of cancer.

"That damaged gene makes certain proteins, and those proteins become absolutely critical to the growth of that cancer cell,” said Kris.

Kris led a study involving 1,000 patients with advanced lung cancer, analyzing tumors for 10 different mutations that drive the spread of the disease.

“We had this vision that we could test the tumors of patients at the time they were diagnosed. We could test for 10 of these oncogenes that we know underlie lung cancer," said Kris. "We were able to find one of those driver oncogenes in 64 percent of the patients, and in 28 percent of the patients we were able to choose a therapy based on that information.”
 

Identifying those damaged genes would allow doctors to better target treatment. Dr. Kris said the testing is fast, accurate and cost effective. The results showed that patients whose driver oncogenes were specifically targeted lived, on average, a year longer than those who received standard chemotherapy. In addition, drugs directed at the damaged genes cause fewer side-effects. Kris said the results of the study will help treat people with all types of cancer as doctors learn more about genes that drive the disease.  


The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid