Mar 4, 2009
- Lung Cancer Pill May Put Off Chemotherapy
Iressa is a new pill designed to cure lung cancer. Researchers reported on Thursday that Iressa has shown incredible results when it comes to cure the lung cancer by itself. Even if the disease is advanced, the pill can easily replace the standard chemotherapy.
Iressa is released by AstraZeneca and its treatment is a daily one. The international team discovered that the patients who took an Iressa a day lived as long as the ones who used to take the chemotherapy treatment Sanofi-Aventis' Taxotere or docetaxel. But this is a second treatment to chemotherapy which is usually applied after combined chemotherapies that can last months. Still, it’s considered to have the same good effect.
Dr. Edward Kim from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and colleagues wrote in the Lancet medical journal that this study represents the first one when a pill is tracked “head-to-head” against the chemotherapy treatment.
The study was made on 1,466 patients from 24 countries that had already made a full chemotherapy treatment. Half of them were given Iressa as the second line treatment and half of them got the usual docetaxel. Both groups lived an average of eight months.
Dr. Michael Cullen of University Hospital Birmingham in Britain, who wrote a commentary of the study, said that Iressa is less toxic than the chemotherapy. But the research team failed in saying who would benefit of this treatment exactly. Iressa has already failed once in 2004 during a clinical trial.
Lung cancer kills nearly 1.2 million people during a year and is the top cause of cancer death all around the world. There are many drugs designed to treat it or cure it but most of them fail in the end. This happens usually because the patients are diagnosed when the tumors have spread already.