Miracles of modern medicine have come through again. First the advances in restoring sight to those blinded by burns and now a new treatment for advanced lung cancer. The only question that I have is where is America in this race to find cures for those most aggressive diseases? Are we going to always be the last to finish the race? Science needs to be restored to our classrooms in order for America to get up off the bench and get into this game. Surely we can do more than just sit around bickering about how rough life is and begin to lead in making life better. Either way, I am glad that somewhere there are those still looking for ways to make others life a little better.
“Advanced lung cancer is notoriously hard to treat, but a team of Japanese scientists reports that a cancer drug known as Iressa was significantly more effective than standard chemotherapy for patients with a certain genetic profile.” “These patients have an advanced form of the most common type of lung cancer – non-small cell lung cancer — and a mutation of a protein found on the surface of certain cells that causes them to divide. This protein — known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) — is found in unusually high numbers on the surface of some cancer cells.” “The researchers focused on gefitinib (Iressa), which stops the protein receptor from sending a message to the cancer cells to divide and grow.” “In their study, reported in the June 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the drug had a better safety profile and improved survival time with no cancer progression in a significantly higher percentage of patients than did standard chemotherapy.” “Researchers from the respiratory medicine department at the Tohoku University Hospital in Sendai, Japan chose to investigate gefitinib in part because standard cancer treatments –including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy — fail to cure most cases of non-small cell lung cancer.”(Mozes, Alan; Health Day News, Tailored Treatment for Advanced Lung Cancer?Retrieved from [email protected])
I have heard about those having this cancer but I do not know of anyone personally. I am still glad to know that there are much better treatments for those with this disease and knowing about it helps me to spread the word about its existence. I wanted to make a point of showing you the results as reported “from clinical trials, the researchers also knew that non-small cell lung cancers in people with a sensitive EGFR mutation were very responsive to gefitinib, but little was known about the medication’s safety profile or effectiveness compared with standard chemotherapy.” “For this reason, Dr. Akira Inoue and his colleagues focused on 230 patients with the EGFR mutation and metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer; the patients were treated in 43 different medical facilities between 2006 and 2009 throughout Japan.” “In a randomized case-control study, half were given gefitinib, while the others received standard chemotherapy.” “After an average follow-up of about 17 months, the research team found that while 73.7 percent of the gefitinib patients responded positively to their treatment while only 30.7 percent of the chemotherapy patients did so.” “The mean survival time with no cancer progression was significantly higher among the gefitinib group — 10.8 months, compared to 5.4 months among the chemotherapy group.” “In addition, one and two-year survival rates were, respectively, 42.1 percent and 8.4 percent among those in the gefitinib group, compared to 3.2 and zero among those in the chemotherapy group.” (Mozes, Alan; Health Day News, Tailored Treatment for Advanced Lung Cancer? Retrieved from [email protected])
It should be noted that “chemotherapy patients were also significantly more likely to suffer severe toxic effects, including anemia and nerve damage, from their treatment and the most common side effects for the gefitinib group were elevated aminotransferase enzyme levels and rash, but six patients (5.3 percent) developed the serious condition interstitial lung disease, and one woman died of it. Noting that the disease was associated with gefitinib treatment, researchers stressed that “every patient treated with [this type of drug] should be monitored for this toxic effect.” “Overall, the authors concluded, gefitinib was a safer and much more effective way to tackle this type of lung cancer in patients with the EGFR mutation, and that this treatment should be considered the first-line treatment for such patients.” (Mozes, Alan; Health Day News, Tailored Treatment for Advanced Lung Cancer? Retrieved from [email protected]).
I do not know about you but it appears that Americans are so concerned with deficits and dollars that we have gotten beyond the true essence of America, to care for its people first which in turn shall preserve a nation. Our history books will soon be filled with other country pioneers instead of those born, raised or naturalized right here at home. While I applaud those scientists of Japan for this discovery, I have to be honest and say, I wish this was a repeat of a story about an American discovery.