Lung cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer around and is the number one cause of cancer death in the United States for women and men alike. Because of this, many doctors and researchers have dedicated their careers to finding new and innovative ways to treat lung cancer. One of the issues with this particular type of cancer is that is can often become resistant to standard treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Get to know some of the newest developing treatment options for lung cancer that has developed a resistance to standard treatments so that you can be sure that you get in on clinical trials or receive the latest treatments when they become widely available.
One of the newest innovations in addressing any illnesses, including cancer, is the use of gene editing technology. This newest technology, known as CRISPR-Cas9 (CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats), is a way to make specific and intentional changes to the human genome or genes to benefit the patient. While this technology could be considered controversial in some camps, the many possible applications in treating cancer and other diseases are numerous.
In the lung cancer trial that is soon to begin in China, this gene editing technology is applied to T-cells that are extracted from the patient's body through a blood draw. These T-cells will be edited to essentially seek out and find specific gene sequences found in the lung cancer cells.
This will then trigger an immune system response in the body, identifying any cells with that specified gene sequence as an invader. The idea would then be that the gene editing process would help to eliminate the cancer from the body, using the body's own immune system as the main source of the treatment. There will also be studies performed in the United States in the near future, though China is ahead of the pack in the human trial department.
In the United States, the FDA recently approved a new antibody treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. This treatment, known as pembrolizumab (or by the name brand of Keytruda), is designed to be used along with chemotherapy for lung cancer.
The drug works by blocking an interaction that occurs in certain types of lung cancer. Lung cancer cells that have a strong expression of PD-L1 (a certain type of protein) receptors on the cancer cells will bond with immune cells, blocking them from rightfully identifying the cells as dangerous to the health of the body.
Pembrolizumab prevents this bonding from occurring so that the immune cells can join the fight against the lung cancer cells, making treatments more effective. This drug is administered intravenously at regular intervals for a few weeks and often coincides with the administration of chemotherapy drugs.
Now that you know more about a few of the newer and developing treatments for lung cancer, you can be sure that you keep up-to-date and join in on any clinical trials that may be applicable to you.
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