Detecting Mutations to Treat Lung Cancer

New Media Producer: Dave Novak

Scientists have uncovered a genetic mutation that may determine if a patient will have success with the new lung cancer drug, Iressa. Once testing for this mutation becomes available, an Evansville specialist says he will know right away whether to offer the drug or focus on other treatment options.

Dr. Maqbool Ahmed says, "Previously, we were using it with all the patients with lung cancer and we saw only one in seven patients were benefiting. But, I think now we will be able to define the subgroup of the patients who will benefit from the treatment and therefore spare other patients from this treatment who are not going to benefit."

It is estimated that only one in ten patients have the mutation that makes the drug effective.