Scientists make a major breakthrough in the treatment of lung cancer

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Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have made a significant discovery in the treatment of lung cancer that could pave the way for more effective therapies.

Led by cancer biologist Tuomas Tammela, M.D., Ph.D., the team’s research offers new insights into the “memories” of lung cancer cells and could potentially improve treatment for lung adenocarcinoma, a common and deadly form of lung cancer.

Understanding the origin of lung cancer cells

The study focuses on a specific type of lung cancer called lung adenocarcinoma, which is often due to mutations in the KRAS gene. These mutations lead to uncontrolled cell growth, making the cancer particularly aggressive and difficult to treat.

Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first KRAS inhibitors. However, these drugs do not work for everyone and many patients eventually develop resistance.

MSK researchers found that some lung cancer cells retain the properties of their cells of origin in the lung – so-called alveolar cells type 1 (AT1) and alveolar cells type 2 (AT2).

This “memory” of being an AT1 or AT2 cell influences how these cancer cells respond to treatments such as KRAS inhibitors.

The key to improved treatment

The team’s breakthrough came with the discovery that targeting these AT1-like cancer cells, which originate from AT2 cells but take on properties of AT1 cells, could increase the effectiveness of KRAS inhibitors.

By eliminating these AT1-like cells, researchers were able to significantly improve treatment response in experimental models.

Collaborative Efforts and Future Directions

This research, published in the journal Cancer Discovery, was made possible through collaboration within the MSK and with other institutions.

It included detailed studies of residual cancer cells in experimental models, patient tumors, and patient tumor samples.

Looking forward, the team wants to find surface proteins that are unique to these AT1-like cells. This could lead to the development of targeted therapies that can bind to and eliminate these cells, similar to the approach used in CAR T-cell therapy and antibody-drug conjugates.

Impact and potential

This discovery holds significant potential for improving the treatment of lung cancer, particularly lung adenocarcinomas caused by KRAS mutations.

By understanding the “memories” of cancer cells and their origins, researchers can develop more precise treatments that target the cells responsible for resistance and recurrence.

The study’s success underscores the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in cancer research and opens new avenues for developing advanced treatments for one of the deadliest cancers.

With continued research and development, this approach could soon enter clinical practice and offer new hope to patients suffering from lung adenocarcinoma.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about the effects of marijuana on lung health and why some non-smokers get lung disease and some heavy smokers don’t.

Further information on the topic of health can be found in current studies Olive oil can help you live longerAnd Vitamin D could help reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases.

The research results can be found in cancer detection.

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