BEIJING, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese researchers have developed two new medicines that may prolong the lives of lung cancer patients, the China Daily reported Friday.
Researchers from Shanghai Chest Hospital conducted clinical trials showing that using a small molecular, multi-targeted drug, called anlotinib hydrochloride, can inhibit the growth of tumors and the development of surrounding blood vessels.
The treatment could prolong the lives of lung cancer patients an average of 50 percent over patients receiving placebos. They survived another 3.3 months on average, said Han Baohui, who led the clinical trials involving 437 patients at 34 health centers and hospitals nationwide.
"One headache for doctors around the world is that there is no guide for how to prescribe medicines for late-stage patients who build up tolerance to various medicines after taking them for long periods," said Han, also the director of respiratory medicine at the hospital.
The new treatment "may become a standard in our country as a viable prescription for these patients," Han added.
According to Han, the treatment will be available to the public this year, and the cost is estimated at around 10,000 yuan (1,600 U.S. dollars) per month.
Another drug, fruquintinib, that can also inhibit vascular development around tumors will soon be used in final stage clinical trials, said Lu Shun, director of oncology at Shanghai Chest Hospital.
Clinical trials showed that the three- and six-month survival rates of those who took the medicine were 90 percent and 67 percent, respectively, compared with 73 percent and 58 percent among those who received placebos.
The research was published in Journal of Clinical Oncology in the United States in March.
According to China's National Cancer Center, 4.29 million new cancer patients are diagnosed in the country annually, with lung caner ranked first among all cancers in both rate of occurrence and mortality.