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Gene Therapy may ease side effects of Radiation Therapy on

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Lung Cancer Patients – University of Pittsburgh study says

http://www.elitestv.com/pub/2005/Oct/EE ... ce277.html

Oct 28, 2005 3pm EST

One of the more effective treatments for Lung cancer comes with a terrible price. Radiation Therapy often causes serious damage to surrounding healthy tissue with resulting side effects such as fatigue, swelling of the esophagus, hair loss and more. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have found that Gene Therapy administered via aerosol provides a strong measure of protection for these healthy tissues, protection that should cause a corresponding reduction in side effects.

Any measures that can reduce the negative effects of treatment may allow oncologists the latitude to pursue more aggressive treatments or dosages of radiation that may lead to a welcome and sorely needed reduction in the mortality rate. No other cancer causes as many deaths each year as lung cancer. It causes more deaths each year than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. Nearly 180,000 people will get lung cancer in 2005 and approximately 85% of them will eventually die from the disease.

This study is the latest in a series of studies UPMC has conducted relating to gene therapy mitigating the effects of radiation on healthy lung tissues. An initial study showed that gene therapy worked to help reduce damage to healthy tissues in the first treatment of radiation. This latest study showed that this reduction in damage continued in subsequent radiological treatments if additional gene therapy dosages were also administered. The study was presented Sunday October 16th at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) in Denver.

Contact: Clare Collins



Lisa Rossi



The study's co-authors include Lauren Hricisak and Michael W. Epperly, Ph.D., both with the department of radiation oncology at the University of Pittsburgh. The study was one of several funded by a Specialized Program in Research Excellence in Lung Cancer awarded to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute by the National Cancer Institute in 2001.

Some Background on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center from the UPMC website:

UPMC Cancer Centers, the cancer care network of UPMC, is an international leader in cancer treatment and research. Along with the academic and research programs at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute — the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the region — UPMC Cancer Centers extends the excellence and technical prowess normally associated only with big-city cancer centers to convenient sites across western Pennsylvania. UPMC Cancer Centers offers drug, biologic, surgical, supportive, and radiation therapies, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). IMRT is so precise it can deliver radiation in the exact shape of a tumor while sparing healthy tissue. UPMC clinicians don't merely have extensive experience with these treatments; in many cases, they helped to develop them.

Steven Leser – sleser001@yahoo.com

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