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Chinese herb may hold key to lung cancer cure


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Chinese herb may hold key to lung cancer cure

By Grainne CunninghaM

Tuesday November 27 2007

THE root of a Chinese herb could be the key to a breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer, doctors said yesterday.

Research carried out on tissue samples donated by Irish lung cancer patients has shown promising results when the drug, which is called Baicalein, is combined with chemotherapy.

The drug is believed to halt the activity of two key growth control proteins which appear to cancel the good effects of chemotherapy on lung cancer cells.

Dr Graham Pidgeon said early studies suggest that the effectiveness of chemotherapy was increased when the drug was used at the same time.

Dr Patrick Corley, the cancer research manager at the Irish Cancer Society said that while research was at an early stage, the findings helped to deepen the scientific understanding about the complex way lung tumours grow.

November is World Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in this country, resulting in 1,500 mortalities a year or 20pc of all cancer deaths.

The incidence of the disease is on the increase and is predicted to overtake breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women.

Nine out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking. The overall five-year survival rate is only 10pc.

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