Lung Cancer Patients May Soon Inhale Chemo Treatments

A new class of lung-cancer therapies is designed to minimize toxic side effects by delivering drugs directly to the lungs.

Inhaler / Image: Getty Images
Inhaler / Image: Getty Images

Current lung cancer treatment can include a combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, which is taxing on the body. A recent Scientific American article reported on a new class of inhalable drugs that minimize the side effects to healthy organs. Inhaled therapies have been in development for decades to treat smoking-related diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema, but the conversation has evolved to cancer treatment.

Scientists have taken compounds intended to be delivered orally and aerosolized them into a form that can be inhaled and directly delivered to the lungs. This method reduces the toxicity in non-targeted issues and results in a higher level of cancer cell death. The first inhaled compounds and biologics for lung cancer have entered clinical trials, and the future looks promising. Inhaled delivery could ultimately treat more people more effectively, with better compliance and quality of life.

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