Inhalation therapy for lung cancer shows promise in study

June 10, 2013 by Robin Lally
Inhalation therapy for lung cancer shows promise in study
Animal studies indicate that delivering chemotherapy through inhalation kills more cancer cells that traditional intravenous chemotherapy. The next step: clinical trials in humans.

(Medical Xpress)—Lung cancer kills about 1.5 million men and women around the world – more than the number of people who die from breast, colon, pancreatic and prostate cancers combined.

This happens, in part, because many patients with lung cancer are not diagnosed until they are in the advanced or metastatic stage of the disease and treatment options are limited mainly to surgery and conventional intravenous chemotherapy.

A new , developed by researchers at Rutgers University, which allows inhalation of that more accurately targets specific in the lungs, could change this.

In animal studies performed at Rutgers and Oregon State University, it appears that this inhalation therapy reduces systemic damage done to healthy and other organs while significantly improving the treatment of .

"The development of additional more effective and safe approaches to treatment of this disease is vitally important," says Tamara Minko, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics at Rutgers and a member of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who has been leading a team of researchers on the project since 2006. "Up until now, limited clinical efficiency and significant toxicity have represented two critical barriers restricting progress in the therapy of advanced lung cancer."

Minko says that with conventional for lung cancer, the drugs tend to accumulate in the liver, kidney and spleen – with less making it to the lungs. But in this study, 83 percent of the drugs delivered via inhalation therapy, as compared to 23 percent with the intravenous injection, were delivered directly to the lungs and predominantly accumulated in .

Researcher, Olga Garbuzenko and graduate students Andriy Kuzmov and Milin Shah, who worked with Minko and Oleh Taratula from Oregon State University, were able to enhance the efficacy of lung cancer treatment by using a combination of tiny nanoparticles of existing cancer drugs – smaller than a speck of dust—and small interfering molecules that shut down the ability of the cancer cells to resist attack. In the most recent four-month animal study, published in the Journal of Controlled Release, the lung tumors of mice treated with inhalation therapy virtually disappeared.

The next step, says Minko, would be to conduct clinical trials to determine whether the same positive effects would occur in humans. Currently, those being treated for lung cancer must deal with severe toxic side effects of conventional chemotherapy. Minko says developed nanoparticle-based lung cancer inhalation therapy would enable those being treated to use the same type of inhaler prescribed to people suffering with asthma.

"The proposed novel treatment much more effectively killed resistant cancer cells when compared with conventional anti-cancer drugs and showed superior efficiency over the traditional chemotherapy," Minko says.

Explore further: Research offers promising new approach to treatment of lung cancer

Related Stories

Research offers promising new approach to treatment of lung cancer

May 22, 2013
Researchers have developed a new drug delivery system that allows inhalation of chemotherapeutic drugs to help treat lung cancer, and in laboratory and animal tests it appears to reduce the systemic damage done to other organs ...

New therapy is tolerable in lung cancer

May 31, 2013
A promising new therapy for the most common form of lung cancer appears to produce largely manageable side effects, and an ongoing clinical trial is determining whether the compound treats tumors more effectively than what's ...

Targeted therapy boosts lung cancer outcomes

June 1, 2013
–Thousands of patients with an advanced form of lung cancer that carries a specific dysfunctional gene are likely to fare better if treated with a targeted therapy than with traditional chemotherapy, report Dana-Farber ...

New treatment holds promise for resistant lung cancer

April 9, 2013
A new chemotherapy regimen appears to produce minimal side effects in patients with lung cancer that has not responded to previous therapy, paving the way for additional research to determine if the new regimen also helps ...

FDA approves genetic test for lung cancer drug

May 14, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration says it approved a genetic test from Roche to help doctors identify patients who can benefit from a lung cancer drug made by Genentech.

Recommended for you

Researchers release first draft of a genome-wide cancer 'dependency map'

July 27, 2017
In one of the largest efforts to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic vulnerabilities in cancer, researchers from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes ...

Cancer-death button gets jammed by gut bacterium

July 27, 2017
Researchers at Michigan Medicine and in China showed that a type of bacterium is associated with the recurrence of colorectal cancer and poor outcomes. They found that Fusobacterium nucleatum in the gut can stop chemotherapy ...

Long-sought mechanism of metastasis is discovered in pancreatic cancer

July 27, 2017
Cells, just like people, have memories. They retain molecular markers that at the beginning of their existence helped guide their development. Cells that become cancerous may be making use of these early memories to power ...

Blocking the back-door that cancer cells use to escape death by radiotherapy

July 27, 2017
A natural healing mechanism of the body may be reducing the efficiency of radiotherapy in breast cancer patients, according to a new study.

Manmade peptides reduce breast cancer's spread

July 27, 2017
Manmade peptides that directly disrupt the inner workings of a gene known to support cancer's spread significantly reduce metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer, scientists say.

Glowing tumor technology helps surgeons remove hidden cancer cells

July 27, 2017
Surgeons were able to identify and remove a greater number of cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients when combining intraoperative molecular imaging (IMI) - through the use of a contrast agent that makes tumor cells ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.