At the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology’s 49th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on October 29, researchers presented study results showing that a new drug could improve lung cancer patients’ quality of life.

The study, conducted by Simon Cheng, MD, PhD, a radiation oncologist at New York University Medical Center, showed that using a pharmaceutical monoclonal antibody to block the integrin beta6-TGF-beta pathway prevents pulmonary fibrosis or lung scarring, a situation that occurs in more than 50% of patients receiving radiation for advanced lung cancer.

In the study, mice that were given integrin beta6 monoclonal antibodies did not develop radiation-induced lung fibrosis, while the control group of mice developed the lung condition.

“The toxicity of pulmonary fibrosis limits the amount of the radiation dose that can be safely given to patients,” said Cheng. “These study results may lead to more effective radiation therapies for advanced lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.”