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New technique 'will improve lung cancer treatments'

22nd March 2011

A new method of identifying the spread of lung cancer cells and their resistance to therapy may lead to more accurate and effective treatments, new research has suggested.

In a study funded by Cancer Research UK and published in the Journal of Oncology, experts focused on the number of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in lung cancer patients both before and after one cycle of chemotherapy.

According to the specialists, those with five or more CTCs were far less likely to survive the disease and would therefore benefit from other methods of treatment.

Dr Lesley Walker, director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK, said it may now be possible to look at the genetic faults that cause the disease and begin to formulate drugs to target them.

'To be able to detect and count these rare tumour cells circulating through the blood, and the link this has to the progress of the disease, opens an incredibly exciting new area of research,' she explained.

Last week, research carried out by experts at the University of San Diego in California found that determining the nicotine levels in smokers' toenail clippings can help to predict their risk of developing lung cancer.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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