New lung cancer treatment bypasses chemotherapy

Cai Wenjun
Shanghai Chest Hospital today unveiled a new therapy for terminal-stage lung cancer combining immunotherapy and targeted drugs to inhibit new blood vessels from forming in tumors.
Cai Wenjun

Local medical experts have developed an innovative therapy for patients with terminal-stage lung cancer to achieve longer survival rates and better quality of life. 

It is the world’s first such therapy combining immunotherapy and targeted drugs that inhibit the formation of new blood vessels in tumors, creating a new approach to non-chemotherapy treatments, medical experts from Shanghai Chest Hospital said today.

The traditional treatment for patients in late stages of lung cancer is chemotherapy or a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. However, the survival and cancer-control rates are not high. The average survival time without cancer reemerging for patients with chemotherapy is only four months and seven to nine months for those who receive chemotherapy and immunotherapy — but the side effects of chemotherapy are serious.

“Since I was in charge of the domestic development of the new drug that inhibits new blood vessels from forming, we have been working on new treatments that bring more benefits to patients while avoiding the adverse side effects of chemotherapy,” said Dr Han Baohui of Shanghai Chest Hospital. “We chose two domestic medications with good results to offer a new solution to patients.”

During the first round of clinical trials in late 2018, all 22 participants reported their tumors were under control, including 72.7 percent where the cancer was reduced by at least 30 percent. The average survival rate without cancer reemergence was 15 months, and 95.5 percent of patients have survived for at least 12 months.

“The safety of the treatment has been confirmed, and it's expected to improve the survival rates and quality of life for terminal lung cancer patients,” Han said. “A second round of clinical trials on 100 patients in six hospitals across China will be carried out soon.”

A patient surnamed Wang said he has led a healthy life since receiving the new treatment.

“I was in the clinical trial for the new treatment for more than two years, and my condition is stable and I live like a healthy person,” Wang said. “I'm glad I'm benefiting from the new treatment, because I have such a fear of chemotherapy, which is infamous for its side effects. The new non-chemotherapy treatment didn’t cause any serious side effects.”

New lung cancer treatment bypasses chemotherapy
Ti Gong

Dr Han Baohui (center) from Shanghai Chest Hospital checks a lung cancer patient.

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