There is hope for lung cancer sufferers worldwide. A breakthrough research has found that the use of two existing drugs could successfully treat the disease. The study delves deep into the molecular survival kit of lung tumours.
Many cancer deaths are driven by the KRAS oncogene. KRAS is an essential gene, but in its mutant form, it is an important step in the generation of many types of cancer.
As part of this effort, rather than targeting the gene directly, some scientists have focused on pathways that are related to the errant gene.
One pathway of interest centres on insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This pathway helps to regulate the uptake of nutrients into the cell, providing it with the energy and raw ingredients it needs to grow.
If the tumour cell’s fuel supply could be severed, its onward march might be halted. However, it is not clear whether KRAS oncogenes are reliant on this particular pathway, and, in clinical trials, results have not been encouraging.
In fact, one study in mice found that lung tumours actually became more aggressive after the pathway was suppressed.