Progress In Lung Cancer Treatment: What You Should Know

Cancer treatments are always changing and evolving as new research and technologies shed light on this tricky disease. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States today. Because of that, it is the focus of a great deal of research so that treatments can improve and those numbers can go down. Get to know some of the latest advances in lung cancer treatment so that you can be sure that you get the best treatment possible for your lung cancer.

Advances In Immunotherapy

Recently, a medication known as Keytruda was so successful in clinical trials for lung cancer (specifically small cell lung cancer, the most commonly diagnosed form) that the trial was halted so that all patients involved in the trial could receive the medication. In other words, the patients given the placebo were allowed to take the tested medication as well.

Keytruda is one of the latest developments in immunotherapy cancer treatment options. Unlike chemotherapy which works by destroying cancer cells (as well as many other healthy cells in the body), immunotherapy drugs are designed to help boost the person's own immune system. The medications are designed to help the immune system learn to seek out and destroy cancer cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed.

Oftentimes cancer cells are able to hide themselves from the immune system through their genetic code or other mechanisms. Keytruda and other immunotherapy treatments like it, rid the cancer cells of their ability to hide so that the immune system can identify them as invading cells (much like a virus or bacterial infection).

Finding Ways To Overcome Drug Resistance

Lung cancer treatments often fall under the category of targeted treatments. Targeted treatments have been specifically designed to seek out cells with a certain gene or protein within the cancer cells. While these treatments are largely successful initially, the problem is that the cancer cells almost always become resistant to the drugs being used and the treatments stop working to shrink or get rid of tumors.

Scientists and researchers have begun to focus on developing ways to combat this drug resistance. There are several drugs in development that are designed to treat the mutation that most commonly occurs in these cases known as a T790M mutation as well as to account for other mutations that may also occur rendering treatments ineffective. This research is largely in the early stages of research and trials but shows promise as a way to deal with mutations and treatment resistance.

Now that you know a few of the ways that lung cancer treatments are progressing and advancing, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to get the best possible treatment for your lung cancer. For more information, talk to a professional like Southwest Oncology Centers.