Published on December 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM
Then, Bunn points to the major challenge of staying ahead of lung cancer as it mutates in response to these targeted first-line drugs. "Targeted therapies don't cure patients yet," Bunn says. Instead, lung cancer eventually mutates around the drug's effectiveness. "And so we have to discover the most rational combinations and see if these combinations allow complete response," Bunn says.
In addition to therapies targeting oncogenes, Bunn describes completely new approaches to treating the disease, including Phase III clinical trials of lung cancer vaccines that aid the body's immune response against the cancer, and the search for ways to promote the function of tumor-suppressor genes that are commonly turned off in cancers.
What is clear is that after many years of chemotherapy and radiation, we're in the midst of an explosion in novel lung cancer treatment options.
"In the coming few years it is likely that we will identify additional 'actionable' molecular drivers treated with specific oral inhibitors," Bunn says. "We're already up to 30 or 40 percent of lung cancers that are susceptible to targeted therapies. I don't know if we'll reach 100 percent but the number is certain to grow."
Source: University of Colorado Denver