A new study suggests a blood pressure drug may make a type of lung cancer treatment more effective.

The early-stage research, conducted on human cells in the lab and on mice, was led by scientists from Imperial College London and Fudan University in China, and is published in the journal Cell Discovery.

The team studied a lung cancer drug called erlotinib which can be used to treat between 10 and 30 per cent of lung cancer patients.

Unfortunately, the drug usually stops working within a few months, due to cancer cells developing resistance to the treatment.

In the current study the team showed that the resistance could be reversed using a simple and cheap diuretic, or ‘water pill’, called ethacrynic acid.

Professor Michael Seckl, lead author from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial said: “Although these are very early-stage results, and are yet to be applied to patients in trials, they suggest the addition of a very cheap diuretic may extend the amount of time we can use the cancer drug erlotinib. This could potentially provide patients with more treatment options and save money in financially challenged health services.”

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