Over the last decade, lung cancer clinical trials have made a significant impact in the survival and response to treatment of lung cancer patients. Currently, there are several different approaches and drugs for the treatment of all types of lung cancer, and that is mostly due to positive developments from clinical trials.
Lung cancer clinical trials have shown a significantly improved outcomes with targeted therapy and immunotherapy. For a more accurate and precise diagnosis, brand new diagnostic tools were developed, such as next-generation sequencing, liquid biopsies, and biomarker testing. Based on these, there were also new treatments that were personalized and tailored to those specific cancer biomarkers and characteristics.
Lung Cancer Clinical Trials and Treatment Process
Clinical trials are research studies designed to understand the patient’s state of health as well as improve the ability to treat disease.
We can evaluate these studies in three different groups:
- Studies comparing existing cancer treatments with new treatments,
- Studies testing new doses, drug combinations or uses of existing prescription drugs,
- Those researching completely new drugs or treatments.
The purpose of these trials is to find ways to help people diagnosed with lung cancer live longer and better. In addition to testing new drugs, research is also exploring ways to address the side effects of cancer and its treatments.
Lung Cancer is the most common cancer type in adults, and it is often referred to as one of the most important diseases of the 20th century. Until the 1960’s, it was considered a homogeneous disease, however, it later emerged that there were two important types of lung cancer, small cell and non-small cell. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer, and for this purpose, PET tomography (PET-CT) and brain MR are required for every patient today.
Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
Non-Small cell lung cancer is the most common type, and it is staged from 1 through 4, the higher stage it means it is more advanced. Stage 1 and 2 can be treated with surgery, stage 3 with chemotherapy and radiation, and stage 4 is considered metastatic or advanced and requires treatment with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy or a combination of those.
Small cell lung cancers are divided into two groups. In the limited stage, the disease is present in the thoracic cavity, lung and lymph nodes, and it is treated with chemotherapy and radiation. In the extensive stage, the disease has traveled through the blood to other organs in the body, and it is treated with chemotherapy and immunotherapy. One of the most important features of this disease is that it can involve the brain.
What Is Targeted Therapy and Immunotherapy?
Every cancer is unique, as well as their specific characteristics, called biomarkers. These biomarkers can be found by ordering special tests on the tumor, and if present, they can drive the cancer growth. Targeted therapy is using molecules and drugs that are specific to these biomarkers and can stop the cancer growth by ‘targeting’ them. Many lung cancer patients can have tumors expressing these biomarkers, including EGFR, ALK, ROS-1, BRAF, MET, RET, NTRK, KRAS, PD-L1 and others, and each one of those responds to a specific therapy or drug.
We all have an innate immune system that helps us fight infections and other noxious agents that attack our body, including cancer. However, the cancer is originating in our own cells, which makes it more difficult to our immune system to recognize the cancer cells as malignant. Immunotherapy are molecules developed using the concept of activating the immune system to battle the cancer on its own, and to ‘release its break’. Some of these medicines called ‘immune checkpoint inhibitors’ have been developed, and proven effective in several cancer types, particularly in lung cancer.
Massive Bio can help you understand if you are eligible for Targeted therapies, Immunotherapy and other clinical studies. Regardless of your geographical location or past medical history, you can participate in a clinical trial that has been examined and decided by experts, tailored to your specific cancer type, biomarkers and needs.
We use our SYNERGY Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to help you match the most appropriate clinical research based on your cancer type and the current stage of the disease. With more than 170 special clinical algorithms on the platform, Massive Bio fills the gap between patients with clinical research, to help you find novel treatments in real time.