After identifying an inflammatory molecule responsible for the proliferation of lung cancer cells, researchers in Melbourne have now shown that blocking the molecule can stop the growth and spread of the disease. A study is currently underway in Europe to test the effect of using sgp130Fc, a drug which blocks the inflammatory molecule, on patients with lung cancer.

If the molecule, interleukin-6, binds to lung cells it can trigger uncontrolled cell growth. This abnormal cell growth goes on to become lung cancer. The drug, sgp130Fc, contains a naturally occurring receptor for interleukin-6 meaning it can mop up the molecule and therefore prevent it from reaching and binding to lung cells.

Prof Jenkins who lead the melbourne study said “The beauty of the study we have done is that...we have shown that if you target Il-6 and block it you will see a suppression of disease in lung cancer,”

Prof Jenkins is also monitoring the European trial of sgp130Fc and believes the drug is successfully clearing the disease. He told reporters that the drug “is very effective at blocking and retarding the growth of these tumours.”

“You see a dramatic reduction in the amount of tumours forming - they just don't seem to grow anywhere near as well as the tumours would if sgp130Fc was not there,”

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