Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent and lethal forms of the disease accounting for almost 20 per cent of all deaths from cancer. It is therefore the leading cause of cancer death in men and second most fatal in women. There are between 1.5 and 2 million new cases of cancer globally
every year. A similar number die from the disease annually. There are two forms of lung cancer – small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). SCLC is the more aggressive form being faster growing and more metastatic, however it also responds more effectively
to treatments such as chemotherapy. NSCLC is the more common form of the disease, accounting for 85 per cent of cases. They develop more slowly than SCLCs, however they are largely unresponsive to chemotherapy and require precise surgical removal. Both present a huge medical problem in terms
of diagnosis and treatment. Due to its far higher prevalence, NSCLC is the most studied of the two forms. A chemotherapeutic treatment has been developed that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). EGFR is majorly upregulated in most cases and plays a key role in the tumour's
growth and survival. The treatment blocks the receptor and is usually very effective in the first instances. However, it is typically unable to clear the cancer as a single nucleotide mutation is capable of rendering the inhibitor unable to act on the receptor. Therefore, the cancer returns
and continues to develop. New treatments are also required. This is the work of Dr Motoi Ohba of the Advanced Cancer Translational Research Institute, Showa University, Japan. His work is aimed at both uncovering novel targets for cancer treatment and finding and developing molecules that
could effectively manipulate these targets.
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