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New diagnostic test for LC


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Hi All,

Did any of you see a piece on ABC News on Friday about a new test for LC. The test seems as simple as a "breathalizer" and takes only a few minutes. Apparently there is a certain smell to the breath of people who have the LC which is uncommon to those who don't.

I didn't manage to see the whole segment and I wonder

if anyone knows anything else about it?

I did post this on Friday but the site went off-line as I was editing it. I think the post was lost.


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Lung Cancer Therapies: A 'Brave New World'

Can an Electronic Nose 'Sniff Out' Lung Cancer?


Apr. 7, 2005 - The latest treatments for lung cancer are giving doctors and patients renewed hope in the battle against a disease that claims more than 150,000 lives in the United States each year.

"It's a brave new world when it comes to therapeutic agents for lung cancer," said Dr. Corey Langer, medical director of thoracic oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

One of the biggest challenges facing lung cancer specialists is that the disease is usually diagnosed only in its late stages -- patients often ignore symptoms, such as a persistent cough, and see their doctor only when symptoms become severe.

But a new device developed by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic may help to change that.

A Nose for Cancer

The "Cyranose" is a hand-sized electronic device that, not unlike a Breathalyzer, evaluates a patient's exhaled breath and creates a readout analyzing the compounds that make up that breath.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio found that the breath of lung cancer patients had significantly different characteristics than the breath from healthy patients and people with other lung diseases.

The amounts of benzene, acetone and other gases were different in the breath of lung cancer patients.

"The small, portable nature of the electronic nose also makes it easy to use in physician offices and outpatient settings," said Dr. Serpil Erzurum, chairman of the department of pathobiology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.

Researchers hope the Cyranose may someday be part of a regular checkup, especially for patients who smoke. This would greatly increase the likelihood that lung cancer would be detected in its early stages, when more treatment options are available.

New Cancer Drugs: Right on Target

In May 2003, the Food and Drug Administration gave approval to Iressa, a drug that showed great promise in treating lung cancer.

Iressa, or gefitinib, is a targeted-therapy drug that appeared to home in on lung cancer cells while having little or no effect on other cells. A major benefit of targeted-therapy drugs is a reduction in side effects.

In about 10 percent of patients with non-small cell lung cancer -- the most common kind of lung cancer -- tumors appeared to shrink dramatically following treatment with Iressa.

But later tests conducted by Astra-Zeneca, the drug's manufacturer, showed Iressa had little advantage over a placebo. Additionally, interstitial lung disease, which is marked by severe breathing problems, has been observed in some patients taking Iressa.

The FDA is expected to decide later this year whether Iressa will remain on the market or not.

Drugs With a Personal Touch

New research from physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, however, may give this targeted-therapy drug a new lease on life.

The researchers discovered a protein mutation in some lung cancer patients that may identify the individual patients who could benefit from Iressa. This allows doctors to "personalize" cancer treatment for their patients.

Other targeted-therapy drugs like Tarceva -- available in pill form -- and Avastin, which blocks off the blood supply to tumors, may allow physicians additional options for targeting cancer cells.

"It showed quality of life improvement, which, at this stage, is probably as meaningful if not more meaningful than a survival advantage," Langer said of Tarceva.

Langer added that medications like Tarceva are still just an incremental step in treating lung cancer. "It's a clean single -- it's not a home run. But it advances our run around the bases."

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

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