Australian researchers find new treatment for throat cancer

Melbourne, Sep 11 (IANS) Australian researchers have stumbled on a breakthrough treatment for throat cancer, which they believe could be the biggest discovery in 30 years.

Researchers from Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Center used a drug developed in Sweden to treat ovarian cancer and tested it on esophageal cancer patients, Xinhua reported.

The medication was found to have stopped the growth of tumours in the throat and also increased the effectiveness of chemotherapy, according to lead researcher, Professor Wayne Phillips.

Phillips believed the finding was the biggest breakthrough in the treatment of the cancer in three decades.

“The basic treatment that we use for esophageal cancer hasn’t changed much over the last 30-odd years,” Phillips told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.

“This is a completely new approach that we hope will have good efficacy.”

The Australian Cancer Council says esophageal cancer, which is often caused by long-term smoking and alcohol use, affects more than 1,000 Australians each year.

Phillips explained the treatment was not a silver bullet for those with esophageal cancer, with chemotherapy still a crucial part of patients entering remission.

“What we’ve found is that it synergises with the effects of chemotherapy, so if you add chemotherapy to the tumours, you find a decrease in the tumour growth,” Phillips said.

“If you add the drug by itself, you get a decrease, but if you put the two together, we seem to get more than additive effects in blocking the tumour growth.”

Clinical trials for further use of the drug could likely begin early next year, with the medication added to the existing treatment process.

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