Novel drug may take on lung cancer

In several kinds of cancer, malignant cells display an excess of a specific type of surface receptor, which when stimulated causes unchecked growth of such cells (SN: 9/11/04, p. 164: Available to subscribers at An Exploitable Mutation: Defect might make some lung cancers treatable).

Scientists now report that a novel agent bottles up this so-called epidermal growth factor receptor and stalls the growth of cancer cells in a lab dish. The strong results have led the researchers to begin testing the new drug, called HKI-272, in people with lung cancer that has proved resistant to two existing anticancer drugs that target the same receptor, reports Daniel A. Haber of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Charlestown.