The Biomedical Institute for Investigation of Light and Image, linked to the University of Coimbra, has developed a new treatment for lung cancer, one which is more effective against the disease and produces less side effects from the chemo- and radio-therapy. Due to the fact that lung cancer is often only diagnosed after a tumour has developed substantially, treatment with chemo- and radio-therapy often has to use strong doses to be effective and apart from the normal side effects caused by these treatments, there is the added complication of damage to the surrounding tissue. The new treatment developed by the Portuguese Institute transports pharmaceutical agents directly to the tumour or to the tumour’s secondaries (metastases), thus avoiding damage to the surrounding tissue. First, the tumour is viewed using a gamma-ray camera and any metastasis is noted carefully. The second phase of the treatment is carried out by a liposome, which the Institute has developed. This liposome is a membrane around an aqueous substance, which is introduced into the lung and carries pharmaceutical or radioactive agents directly to the tumour or the metastasis. In Portugal, there are 39 deaths per 100,000 population from lung cancer every year and the figure is rising fast, particularly among women. More and more women are starting to smoke, at younger ages - and the type of cigarette they tend to smoke is more dangerous. Women generally prefer to smoke light cigarettes and tend to inhale deeper, taking the smoke to the more fragile part of the lung, the alveoli.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey Pravda.Ru
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