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Spanish researchers discover how to make a 'deadly' form of lung cancer 'curable' and double survival rates
21 October 2020 @ 10:47

SCIENTISTS in Spain have developed a form of treatment for a 'lethal' type of lung cancer which has made it curable in many cases, and doubled survival rates.

According to the report in The Lancet Oncology, research by the Spanish Lung Cancer Group (GECP) through their 'NADIM' study has found that a 'different approach' to treatment is producing positive results.

Survival rates for the strain of lung cancer in question have historically been very low indeed, and treatment has typically involved surgery followed by chemotherapy.

But over two years, researchers treated patients with an immunotherapy combined with chemotherapy before operating, and found that during this period, 89.9% survived, and in 77%, the cancer did not progress.

In fact, nearly two-thirds – 63.4% - were cancer-free after the drug treatment and surgery.

With the usual method – operation followed by chemotherapy – only around 30% of patients were still alive after three years, with rarely more than 20% surviving for longer, says the GECP.

Its scientists stress that the drug combination they have used is 'completely safe'.

Only three in 10 patients experienced side-effects, and in all cases, these did not interfere with the surgical process.

Giving drug treatment before surgery allows oncologists to target the specific makeup of the tumour and start building up the body's 'immune memory' at an earlier stage, which increases defences long-term.

They targeted patients whose cancer was at a 'medium stage' – operable, but having already spread to the nearby lymph nodes, albeit not to any other organs.

The CEGP says lung cancer is usually diagnosed when it is 'locally advanced', meaning it is generally considered 'terminal', in broad terms, since 'likely long-term survival is very limited'.

Until now, it says, research has focused on very advanced stages of lung cancer, meaning 'there has been no progress in the last 20 years'.



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