New lung cancer treatment could double survival rates

Credit: REUTERS/David Gray

A new type of treatment could as much as double patients' chances of survival from the most common type of lung cancer, scientists have claimed.

Early results on an immunotherapy treatment from drug company Roche have suggested it could be better than chemotherapy for sufferers of non-small cell lung cancer.

Jesme Fox, medical director at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, welcomed the news: "There is much optimism that immunotherapy will provide a new treatment paradigm for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

"Lung cancer remains a devastating disease, with the vast majority of patients diagnosed when the disease is in the late, non-curative stage. New and innovative therapies are of great need."

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK, but less than 30% of patients will still be alive one year after the disease is detected.

The drug works by interfering with the PD-L1 protein on tumour cells. By doing this, it may help T cells in the blood, restoring their ability to detect and attack tumour cells.

After successful trials in selected London and Manchester hospitals, Roche is now studying how sufferers of other forms of lung and bladder cancer respond to the treatment.