New Therapy Treats Lung Cancer

The results of an international Phase III clinical trial on the effects of an oral prescription medication as a treatment of lung cancer has concluded that the drug is just as effective, if not more so among certain tumor patients, than that of chemotherapy, according to reports from a Science Daily article.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and followed 1,466 lung cancer patients in 24 different countries around the world. Patients participated in receiving randomized treatments of Iressa, a once-daily tablet, or docetaxel, which is a form of chemotherapy.

Patients who received chemotherapy treatments were found to have an overall median survival rate of 8 months and 34 percent had a one-year survival rate. Similarly, patients given the Iressa treatment had an overall survival rate of 7.6 months with a 32 percent survival rate of one year.

However, while Iressa appears to be on par with the chemotherapy treatment, scientists found that lung cancer patients who suffered from tumors with EGFR gene mutations and who were given Iressa had “an improved response rate and progression-free survival compared to docetaxel,” according to researchers of the study who spoke with Science Daily.

Iressa is a considered a “biological oral therapy” and, according to the researchers from the news article, “this is the largest study in lung cancer comparing an oral biologic to chemotherapy, and shows, for the first time that an oral biologic therapy is just as effective as chemotherapy.”

Lung Cancer Causes and Prevention

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), lung cancer is considered a leading cause of death in the United States. Science Daily reported that “in 2008, approximately 215,000 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer and approximately 114,000 people will die from the disease.” Additionally, the Mayo Clinic reports that “smoking causes the majority of lung cancers — both in smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke.”

Because the condition is considered preventable through smoking cessation therapies, the Surgeon General has outlined several steps that may assist a smoker in quitting the often addictive habit.

* Set a date to quite within two weeks.

* Remove all tobacco products from work and home environments.

* Alert friends, family, coworkers of your decision and request support.

* If any past attempts at quitting have occurred, review and determine what didn’t and did work.

* Make a pro list on reasons for quitting as well as benefits of quitting.

* Try to determine challenges in advance and determine strategies to overcome these anticipated challenges.

In addition to this method, there are several varieties of nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), both prescription and non-prescription, that can assist a smoker in succeeding with quitting their tobacco addiction. The ACS reported the following as several smoking cessation aids:

* nicotine gum

* nicotine patches

* nicotine nasal spray

* nicotine inhalers

* nicotine lozenges

* high dose nicotine replacement therapy (Zyban, Chantix)

Smoking Cessation Prescription Drug Dangers

Unfortunately, not all smoking cessation prescription or non-prescription aids are ideal for an individual and some come with dangerous side effects. For example, one such smoking-cessation prescription drug that continues to make headlines for its alleged risks is that of Chantix (varenicline tartrate). Chantix, from Pfizer, was released in May 2006 and is currently consumed by nearly 3 million Americans hoping to quit their nicotine addictions.

In November 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began receiving hundreds of complaints associated with the consumption of Chantix. The drug was allegedly causing suicidal behaviors and tendencies among patients, 37 of which were successful in committing suicide. The FDA began investigating the Chantix risks, but did not recall the drug from the market.

Individuals who suffered from the severe Chantix side effects or who lost a loved one, family member to suicide because of the drug, should contact a pharmaceutical attorney who may be able to provide details as to how to develop a Chantix class action lawsuit that can result in the compensation of a monetary reward.

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