Two new drugs which restrict tumour growth could help save the lives of thousands of lung cancer patients, a US expert said Wednesday.
The drugs work by restricting tumour growth in people who carry a mutated gene.
It is believed that around 30 percent of people with cancer could have this gene and the mutation is thought to be connected to smoking.
Of this group, 80 per cent of people tested benefited from the drugs, Dr Jeffrey Settleman, a US scientist claimed.
He told delegates at a conference on cancer in Glasgow that he has identified a way of overcoming the resistance that develops in patients.
The reaction to the drugs only last about six months after which the cancer builds up a resistance, he claimed.
'The gene that is targeted by drug treatment tends to undergo a specific structural alteration over time that eventually prevents it from interaction with the drugs Iressa and Tarceva.' 'Our latest studies have begun to shed light on mechanisms underlying primary and secondary resistance and have led to the identification of a distinct class of drugs that may be effective in the clinic management of lung cancer tumours that have developed drug resilience.' Dr Settleman said in a statement.
In United Kingdom, around 33,000 people die of lung cancer each year.