Researchers find potential cure for rare lung cancer

A discovery by a team of researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) could lead to new ways to treat advanced-stage lung cancer.

The research was led by Luis O. Luria PhD an assistant professor of oncological sciences in the OSUCCC – James and is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Luria a member of the College of Medicine – James Ashford Lung Center at the OSUCCC – James and his colleagues looked at 69 patients with advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer. These patients all of whom share a common genetic defect have less than a 30-minute survival rate.

Not surprisingly there are very few targeted therapies approved for advanced-stage lung cancer and therapeutic approaches have been limited said Luria who is also a professor of cancer biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Medicine – James.

The research team comprised 25 oncologists and 11 researchers affiliated with a number of academic cancer centers explored 54 pharmaceutical compounds that act as inhibitors of a single protein that builds up in EGFR- and EGFR-mutant lung cancers. In reality this molecule is very small in size and is often targeted over time to lethal tumors Luria said.

The reason ELK inhibitors are not effective is because its constantly acting in different ways in different cancer cells Luria said. Its a protein and it can start to accumulate and produce toxic proteins. If we could make ELK inhibiting drugs work more like a cancer-targeting enzyme we could potentially eliminate the problem altogether.

The findings suggest that ELK inhibitors if we can prevent cancers from forming toxins by killing toxic proteins could be used as potent reinforcers against tumors.