Despite the remarkable progress made in recent years, lung cancer is one that still has the most room for improvement. And within this, microcytic (i.e. small cell) cancer is the type with the fewest treatment options.
The good news is that there have been major advances in this field in recent years. And, what is more, this innovation has come from a Spanish laboratory: PharmaMar. This laboratory has developed the drug lurbinectedin. It inhibits the active transcription of protein-coding genes, causing tumour cell death and normalising the tumour microenvironment.
Research As A Tool In The Fight Against Small-cell Lung Cancer
At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting in June 2019, the research group presented to the scientific community the results of the Phase II study, using this molecule as a single agent for the treatment of recurrent small-cell lung cancer. The study met its primary endpoint, achieving an overall response rate of 35.2%. This refers to the percentage of patients living a given time after diagnosis. It also yielded a median overall survival of 9.3 months. This would be the time during which the disease does not progress or worsen after treatment.
Looking Into Second-line Treatment: The Basket research
In August 2019, PharmaMar agreed with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to file an application for registration of lurbinectedin under accelerated approval. This procedure allows for the submission of applications for the treatment of serious diseases that also meet a medical need. And the treatment of relapsed small-cell lung cancer had not changed substantially in more than two decades (since 1996).
In sum, the good results obtained and the lack of therapeutic options for patients with small-cell lung cancer led to the milestone. Its importance lies in the fact that it represented a remarkable unmet medical need. Therefore, lurbinectedin has become not only the company’s flagship product, but also a paradigm shift in the treatment of lung cancer.
There is no doubt that, as in other fields of medicine, research is the key to success.