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Breakthrough study could save more cancer patients

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A MAJOR breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer could mean patients will live longer, a top scientist said yesterday.

Professor Jeffrey Settleman, from Harvard Medical School, told a conference in Glasgow that resistance to key drugs used to treat lung cancer patients could be tackled after research into what causes people to stop responding to treatment.

Experts said that overcoming resistance was a major breakthrough, but that it could be several years before the drugs were fully developed.

Lung cancer is one of the most deadly forms of the disease, with patients developing resistance to the drugs usually after only six months. This means that many will not survive for a year after being diagnosed.

Prof Settleman told the Beatson International Conference:

"Our latest studies ... have led to the identification of a distinct class of drugs that may be effective in the clinical management of lung cancer tumours that have developed drug resilience."

Dr Mark Matfield, a scientific consultant for conference sponsors the Association of International Cancer Research, said the work could be a major step forward for cancer patients.

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